The U.S. Gets Physical
In the U.S. market, eMarketer predicts that mobile devices will account for 22% of all e-commerce sales and mobile will influence 1 trillion retail transactions. That influence extends far past just making a purchase. Buyers are researching products, checking availability, and finding locations from their mobile device before committing to buy. Because of this, buyers expect a higher degree of integration between the mobile and the physical worlds.
More than 80% of respondents surveyed by eMarketer said they want to check stock availability via mobile before going to a physical store. Further, more than half said they would like the option of ordering or reserving a product online with their mobile device before picking it up in a physical store. These shoppers clearly demand more flexibility than traditional online retail.
Mexico’s No Questions Asked Policy
The Mexican e-commerce market has been going through rapid growth, growing 50%, 32%, and 30% in 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively. But even with the increase in the size of the market, it still makes up only 1.5% of the total retail market in that country. Regardless of this market’s relative size, noticeable trends are emerging.
A 2013 Comscore study asked shoppers in Mexico what trends would influence their decision to shop online and how retailers can reduce cart abandonment. The study found that more payment options and free shipping were important drivers. Of shoppers questioned, 53% said that they have bought more items simply to qualify for free shipping, and 71% cited a lack of desired payment options as the reason they abandoned their cart. More than 70% of online shoppers said they’d more likely to visit an online store if it had a “No Questions Asked” return policy.
The Mexican e-commerce market is still growing strong, and consumers are looking for more flexibility in how they shop.
Great White Commerce
In Canada, the e-commerce market is a lot like that of the U.S., but key differences make it stand apart. The growth rate for online retail has hovered at around 17% a year — which is quite high — with the U.S. and U.K. both seeing about 14% growth.
EMarketer estimates that Canada’s e-commerce penetration as a%age of the population has reached nearly 70% as of the end of 2015, but that number isn’t expected to grow much in the coming years.
On the Whole, North Americans Want Flexibility
Despite great variations in the size and growth rates of e-commerce markets throughout North America, some trends transcend borders and cultural differences. Across the board, mobile devices are changing the way that people shop. Whether a company is purely e-commerce or using an omnichannel approach, customers are using mobile to buy products or research where they should. Buyers across North America are looking for more flexibility with when and how they pay for and receive their products. Online retailers must cater to these needs or risk losing customers.
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European Shoppers Want Speed, Comparison Tools
No one is surprised to hear that e-commerce is growing rapidly in Europe, but what is surprising is the%age of people making purchases online. Europe as a whole makes up a quarter of global Internet users, with the number of users rising 275% since the start of the new millennia. In the case of the U.K., this boom in Internet users has led to e-commerce sales making up 20% of all sales.
In the U.K. and France, customers want to compare products, so much so that it’s the single most important aspect of shopping online for them. Meanwhile, in Spain and Germany, shoppers want fast checkout.
Over the last few years, an increasing number of online-only retailers have been opening brick and mortar shops to give their customers the option of seeing the products before making purchases online.
A recent report by Comscore found that across Europe, 41% of shoppers said they would be more likely to purchase if they could check out online and pick up in store, and 52% said they would prefer the option to buy online and take returns to a physical store. Not surprisingly, many of the companies going physical are clothing stores.
Asia’s Huge Potential
Looking at APAC as a single market is a daunting task. To better understand overall trends, let’s focus on the big three: China, India, and Japan.
A Chinese buyer may not be getting online to make a large number of purchases every year, but according to eMarketer, just over 35% of the population will make at least one purchase digitally this year. That’s 407.6 million shoppers or double the United States’ digital market.
Similarly, the Indian market is experiencing a shift to digital purchases across it’s large population. About 9% of the population is buying digitally, or 82.3 million buyers. A survey by Mobify found that 40% of online shoppers in India were using smartphones. This is similarly true in China, where around almost half of online sales are made on a mobile device.
In Japan, smartphone penetration is expected to reach 69% by the end of 2016. But for the most part, online retail is not what Japanese smartphone owners are looking for. A study by Lifemedia Research found that almost 90% of Japanese online shoppers preferred PCs for shopping, with only about 23% saying they used their smartphones.