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Friday, March 26, 2021

U.S. ecommerce to continue unabated

Despite ecommerce growth throughout the pandemic, the U.S. market remains robust and nowhere near saturation, according to a new study by RetailX and ACI Worldwide. Industry analysts explored highlights from the USA 2020 Ecommerce Country Report in a March 2021 webinar, discussing changes in consumer behavior and their preferred shopping channels.

Moderator Ludovica Quaglieri was joined by ACI Worldwide executives Kieran Mongey, solution consulting merchant retail, and Dan Coates, solution evangelist, who discussed key drivers behind continued U.S. ecommerce growth. All participants agreed with Ian Jindal, CEO at RetailX, that the U.S. ecommerce market is sophisticated and has the additional advantage of high-profile ecommerce icons like eBay and Amazon.

"Amazon and eBay both made their first [ecommerce] sales more than a quarter of a century ago—and in ecommerce terms, the mid-1990s were practically pre-history," Jindal wrote. "This longevity gave many U.S. firms a first-mover advantage, something that has been solidified by the country's innovative tech sector."

Room to grow

Jindal proposed that COVID-19 has proven room stilll exists for ecommerce growth in the United States where fear of the pandemic and difficulties in product sourcing have pushed consumers to online channels. Whether they are first-time ecommerce shoppers or digital natives, Jindal expects online commerce to continue to scale as shoppers rely more on mobile and digital channels.

Throughout the vast, mature U.S. market, 70 percent of consumers have shopped online at least once in the past 12 months as ecommerce grew by 18 percent. RetailX researchers expect this growth to continue at about the same rate. Citing Statista and eMarketer data, researchers noted that books, music and video accounted for 63 percent of all ecommerce sales, followed by 48 percent hobby and craft purchases and 37 percent apparel and accessories.

"Only in grocery has ecommerce’s reach not been so keenly felt, with just 4 percent of food purchases made online in 2020," researchers wrote. "However, this figure is likely to change in the years ahead following high-profile moves by the likes of Amazon and Walmart to invest in digital food retail, both in store and online."

Omnichannel strategy

Robust ecommerce growth, while encouraging, is also a signal to online retailers that they need a strong omnichannel strategy that enables them to meet the 25 percent of consumers who prefer to shop online, according to the study. In addition, ecommerce merchants must meet customers wherever they shop, including an array of evolving channels such as voice, social media and video commerce, researchers noted.

As the 35-minute webinar drew to a close, Quaglieri asked the panelists what impact COVID-19 will have on ecommerce in the long run.

Mongey pointed out that consumer behaviors are evolving in different sectors, stating that he expects to see more ebb and flow in different categories. "Food was toward the bottom but you can now see now restaurant and grocery emerging into that digital space," he said, adding that it's interesting to see continued growth in home improvement and restaurant delivery at the end of the shutdown as many areas ease restrictions.

Coates agreed, noting that people will continue to gravitate to channels that provide a positive customer experience. "I think what it comes down to is things that work will stay, and we'll continue to see that, whether from the blended commerce side or omni-commerce side," he said. "Car-side delivery and spaces in shopping centers and stores that are dedicated to pick up only are going to stay. Those are the things that work for us."

An on-demand webinar recording is at go.aciworldwide.com/RetailX-US-eCom-Webinar-Confirmation.html

For a full copy of the report, visit go.aciworldwide.com/RetailX-eCom-Report-Confirmation.html

end of article

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