Also in connection with the health emergency, eCommerce has played an increasingly important role in defining the retail development plan, in our country and in the rest of the world.
The 757 billion euros spent worldwide on eCommerce this year highlight three significant revolutionary factors:
1) The pyramid of consumer values has changed: they seek and reward sustainability both in terms of packaging and in terms of logistics; the new values must be consistent with the new lifestyle of the consumer. On this front, digital technology favors more accurate information on the product and its origin;
2) The online shopping cart now also features ordinary products such as coffee, sugar and bread. 75% of people, in fact, remain with the habits introduced by the pandemic;
3) The purchasing system involves customers and merchants from every corner of the planet.
Not only have purchasing behaviors changed, but the awareness of retailers has also matured on the indispensability of planning a sales and relationship path based on integration and collaboration between physical and online channels, rewarding omnichannel.
Today eCommerce is the bearer of new balances and new ways of interacting and selling that are spreading to all commerce, including physical. Clear examples are the development of digital and biometric payments, one to one marketing, product personalization, targeted cross and up selling.
If we look at the increase in the world of eCommerce since 2016, we observe how France and Germany have remained regular in growth even during the pandemic period, while Italy (+ 45%) and the United Kingdom (+ 60%) are the two European countries where there is 'was the biggest increase in online sales. The resulting consequences are:
• The reduction of the boundaries between online and offline
• The reduction of the boundaries between service providers and merchants
• The use of new social commerce (such as Tik Tok and Twitter)
In Italy, B2c eCommerce continues to grow at a rate similar to that of the pre-pandemic. On the one hand, product purchases continue to increase, albeit at a lower rate (+ 18%) than last year and reach 30.5 billion euros. On the other hand, purchases of services, after the severe crisis of 2020, mark a recovery (+ 36%) and reach 8.9 billion euros. However, the gap with respect to 2019 remains significant when the sector was worth 13.5 billion.
Compared to the past, not only large companies, but also medium-small Italian companies, have approached eCommerce and have understood its potential. In many cases, however, the multi-channel approach was rather elementary, based on online interaction methods and on order acquisition models through social and / or instant messaging platforms, therefore not really eCommerce. There are also several merchants who have evaluated and investigated intermediate online sales methods, for example by opening a showcase on marketplaces.
Today eCommerce is consciously chosen for daily purchases by a growing number of Italians. In 2021, the incidence of B2C eCommerce on total Retail sales, an index of online maturity, reaches 10% (it was 9% in 2020). In the product component alone, penetration goes from 9% in 2020 to 10% in 2021 (+1 percentage point compared to 2020), with a more contained increase than that observed between 2019 and 2020 (+3 percentage points). In 2021, the incidence of the services component also increased, passing from 10% to 11%.
Without the health emergency, the online market probably would have closed 2021 with 3.5 billion euros more, without the drastic decline in the Tourism and Transport sector, heavily penalized by severe restrictions on mobility (such as the closure of borders). The Covid-19, therefore, contrary to what one might think, has slowed the general growth of the eCommerce market, with several exceptions in the product sectors, such as Food & Grocery, which, on the contrary, have obtained a strong acceleration.
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