Wunderman Thompson Commerce study reveals over half of spend globally will be online post-Covid-19 pandemic
As COVID-19 restrictions ease in many parts of the world, the new Future Shopper Report from Wunderman Thompson Commerce has surveyed over 28,000 consumers globally, including six countries from the APAC region, on current and future shopping habits. The report revealed that, in a post-pandemic world, online shopping will account for over half (51%) of retail sales globally.
Nearly three-quarters of global shoppers say that online shopping came to their rescue in 2020, with Thailand at the top of the global ranking with 94% of consumers agreeing with the sentiment. As we look to 2021 and beyond, three-quarters of global shoppers (73%) say eCommerce would be more important to them in 2021.
One of the retail winners following COVID-19 was marketplaces, with 42% of all online spend globally going to the likes of Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com, Mercado Libre and eBay. When we explore the APAC region, marketplaces other than Amazon account for a third (33%) of all purchases, led by Japan at 45% and Thailand coming in at 41%.
This disparity globally to the Asia region could be due to its reputation on value. Amazon’s reputation on price is comparatively poor in Asia – just 20% of shoppers say it provides the best value, compared to 48% who identify the other marketplaces as being best – Tmall, Taobao, Lazada.
Although marketplaces are winning across the globe, there remains hope for branded direct-to-consumer sites. Over one quarter (29%) of shoppers in China said they have used branded direct-to-consumer sites as a source of inspiration, putting the channel third behind dominant marketplaces like Taobao and Tmall, and social media. As far as China can nowadays be considered a pacesetter in global consumer trends, that’s good news for brands wondering if and how they can break through the noise of increasingly crowded digital markets.
Kaythaya Maw, Chief Technology Officer of Wunderman Thompson APAC said: “Online commerce has saved consumers and businesses that had the agility to respond during the pandemic.
“As we look beyond 2021, we know this channel shift from physical to digital channels is not only accelerating but will be the primary channel for retail purchasing in future. We see consumers turn to local and regional marketplaces as they take on global players like Amazon, an abundance of businesses switching to D2C offerings, and Asian consumers leading the way when engaging in new channels such as social and live commerce.”
Globally, 41% say they are frightened about shopping instore in the wake of COVID-19 and when we begin to look at APAC, data shows 49% of shoppers in the region are more hesitant to return to the store. Nearly three quarters (72%) of shoppers in India are experiencing this fear, followed by Thailand (62%), China (55%) and Indonesia (51%) – while Japan and Australia are more open to the idea (30% and 22% retrospectively).
Globally two-thirds (64%) of shoppers say that they prefer to shop with brands that have both an online and offline presence, while 59% of consumers said they wished brands would communicate seamlessly with them across all channels, digital and physical. And their expectations need to be met, across Asia, shoppers are also now demanding the most from digital retailers, saying they want better products, services, and experiences online, with Thailand shoppers agreeing with the statement at 94.8%, closely followed by China and Indonesia at 89% and India at 86%.
A big finding from this year’s survey is that 44% of all global consumers we spoke to say they have bought from a social platform. In Asia, buying directly through social media is already clearly a well-established trend, led by Thailand where 74% of consumers said they had purchased from a social platform, followed by Indonesia and China at 69%.
Justin Peyton, Chief Transformation & Strategy Officer of Wunderman Thompson APAC, said: “What’s clear is that we need to stop calling this ecommerce. With the growth of sales that we have seen in the recent past, and the fact that it is becoming the channel of choice, digital transactions have become a hygiene element that brands are expected to support as part of the overall commerce ecosystem.
“What’s more interesting is how commerce is fragmented across owned platforms, social platforms, conversational platforms, and marketplaces. With this diversity, brands must focus on where they can not only gain visibility but demonstrate their products in ways that are most likely to influence consumer choice.”
Maw added: “With the largest representation from Asia Pacific taking part in this year’s report, we hope to provide businesses with vital insights to formulate effective strategies and respond to how consumers are shopping in this current environment, and how they will shop in future.”