This Global Stats & Trends Webinar was the first SaleCycle webinar of 2021. We explore how online user behaviour has changed and what this means for buying habits online. We also share insights and stats from our 2021 Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report in a way you can harness this information to increase your conversion rate (CRO) and shopping cart abandonment strategy.
Ben: Hello and welcome to the Ecommerce 2021 Stats and Trends Report webinar brought to you by SaleCycle. I am the Global Head of Marketing Ben Lax and I’m joined by the author and Search & Content Manager at Salecycle, Brad ward.
Ben: So 2020 was quite a year from an ecommerce perspective. It had its ups and downs from a worldwide perspective. Everyone faced challenges of buying also of getting the right products of some products not being available and also some things that possibly just weren’t in demand anymore. For example, traveling due to the restrictions of COVID-19.
We will touch on that in the next slide, but during 2020, we witnessed more than 155 million online conversions compared to 130 million in 2019. So we did play a key role in influencing a lot of conversions and over 6 million conversions of our clients across a wide range of sectors, including retail, fashion, luxury, financial services, travel, and many, many more.
The image below shows you the average order value throughout the year. And as you can see the fluctuations moved up and down, but an average order value of around 250 pounds to 275 pounds from a mix of our clients was impressive.
Brad: Yeah. And another interesting point about 2020 is that there’s been an acceleration of digital. Consumers had to move online quickly during the pandemic to get the products that they wanted. For example, we saw a record high of online traffic in June, 2020 at 22 billion online visits and online conversions increased by 40% compared to 2019. So this really does paint the picture of the state of digital and ecommerce and how fast it’s really moving.
Ben: Yeah, I think it’s important to understand that the data really fuels how this ecommerce report has been shaped this year. Everything that was within it, Brad has focused on what it looks like now, what it’s looked like before and tries to give tips and analysis on exactly why that change has occurred.
All of the information that you’ll see within today and within the report itself, when you download it comes from our own client data and worldwide recognized data providers.
The Impact of COVID-19
Ben: So onto the impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce. Ecommerce went through a massive transition, like it’s never seen before. Some companies were planning new things to do in the ecommerce space and others were forced into changes that they might not have seen coming due to COVID-19.
The graph clearly shows growth around the Black Friday Sales period in November. However, it also shows a lift of online traffic and online purchasing around March and April. This is entirely due to people going online when they weren’t expecting to have to, to purchase items that they potentially wouldn’t have purchased before or wouldn’t have purchased online.
Brad: Yeah. And just a second after that one Ben online consumers worldwide increased from 1.92 billion to 2.05 billion and as you mentioned before, a lot of businesses were forced to move online. They were forced to improve their websites, improve their user journeys, the overall experience, and really bring forward the market and innovation and the marketing roadmaps that they had planned potentially for the future.
There’s a lot more competition online now for digital brands. There’s also a lot more competition for digital real-estate, organic visibility, fighting for space in inboxes with email marketing and social media. So with the extra traffic and with the extra online conversions and extra online sales comes all competition as well.
Ben: Yeah, from a SaleCycle perspective, we saw a lot of companies within the retail and fashion space come to us asking how our solution could help assist them due to the fact that they had an influx of new types of consumers. The one that took the hardest beating was the travel sector, the travel sector really wasn’t expecting to see such an impact, but due to COVID-19 due to the regulations of each country and not being able to travel, the traffic just fell. Interestingly enough, people going on to those websites when they could, it was more important than ever for travel flight companies to get those conversions over the line.
Online Sales By Region
Brad: Yeah, and the next slide. So some regions like Europe, have seen immense growth and North America has seen a slight uptake as well. These are obviously the more mature markets. The immense growth of Europe is unprecedented and we will anticipate that other countries or the regions will even out and we expect Europe to even out as well.
Ben: Yeah. I think this is clearly something that we can look at and say again, linking back to COVID-19 what happened? The mature markets where things are readily available online are quite clear. So North America and Europe saw huge uplift. However, the likes of APAC South America, where perhaps some things weren’t vital, some things weren’t necessarily needed. And the comfort that would have driven the growth in Europe and North America weren’t necessarily there.
10 Most Valuable Ecommerce Markets
Ben: So the next slide looks at the top 10 most valuable ecommerce markets based on the share of total retail sales in 2020. Interestingly, if we think back to the last slide, it’s quite clear why we see that growth. So we talked about the mature market in the UK, 79 billion in online sales, which equated to 14.5% of overall retail sales. That uplift is great. It’s great for those online businesses, but it was people moving online out of necessity. You can also compare that to the likes of Russia, where their 20 billion of online sales only equates to 2% of total sales.
Brad: Yeah. We can also see that Brazil is an exciting market, it’s the only South American market here and it’s similar to Russia as an exciting prospect for the future, given the amount of online sales and the whole share of retail sales as well. So there’s quite a big opportunity there. But what we will say is that Asia continues to monopolize space. It’s the most valuable market is the fastest growing ecommerce community. We can see China and Japan and South Korea on this top 10 list but Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand are waiting in the wings to really break into the top 10.
Ben: Yeah, it’s interesting because we are going to look at Black Friday later, which is predominantly a Western focused sales day. Black Friday over that weekend. And then just Cyber Monday. However, when we touch on Singles’ Day, it is very clear to see why China has seen such levels of growth.
Percentage of Sales Volumes Per Month
Brad: In this slide we’re going to talk about the percentage of yearly sales volumes per month. We can see a 7% line of support with five bottom touch points and two major spikes. The first spike came in May after global lockdowns or restrictions were announced. And the second in November, so no surprise, November hosts, Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and an interesting holiday in Asia called Singles Day.
These are global trends, but if you downloaded the ebook, you’ll get retail, fashion and travel drilldowns as well. But just to carry on timing your market partners is really important and it allows you to create the most effective marketing campaigns.
Learning when your sector or when your market spikes or ebbs and flows will give you an opportunity to decide how much money you put behind a campaign when you need to add a solution or takeaway solution. So it’s really important to look at these market patterns.
Ben: Yeah, the agreed solution at SaleCycle that we use with a lot of our clients is countdown timers. It should be used sparingly and not something you want to use in every single month in your campaigns. It’s something that really builds up to an event. For example, like Black Friday that Brad talked about.
They could have been used well throughout COVID-19 to try and really adjust to what was happening. So when we knew things were going into lockdown, the use of a countdown timer could have been useful for some people out there to really build up to the opening of an online store, the addition of products online. These types of things are things that we do day in and day out at SaleCycle. Our account managers are in touch with their clients to really define what we should be doing to help them get the best out of their campaigns.
Average Percentage of Sales Volumes By Day of The Week
Brad: So in this slide, we’re going to talk about the average percentage of sales volume by day of the week and monthly trends in sales volumes. But just to start with, the graph on the right does show that Thursday is the most popular day for online sales.
We also know through external analysis that Thursday is also the most popular day for social media engagement. Saturday did see the biggest dip in the week, which is no surprise. But what this graph really shows and what this day really does tell us is that if you wanted to plan your marketing campaigns or plan your ecommerce solutions weekly or monthly, you’ve got a day of the week to really draw a spotlight on and really work on campaigns around given this there that we’re providing here.
Ben: Yeah, I think Thursday is also very focused on people looking for that delivery on Friday or Saturday or Sunday. The monthly trends in sales volume is interesting. It’s no hidden secret that Black Friday occurs around the end of November. And in this instance, you can see a peak around the end of every single month and that correlates very nicely with payday.
Although it doesn’t for everyone, the large proportion of people are waiting for that paycheck to arrive near the end of the month to make the purchases that they’ve potentially been browsing throughout that month. We’ve all done it, being on a website, taken a liking to something, seeing that it’s possibly a little bit above the budget we’ve got left to spend for that month and then want to buy it just when we get paid to ensure that we get the item for potentially the deal that it’s on at that time.
It really is an interesting correlation for that slight dip towards the end of the month, as people are buying into that payment period, this correlates again, with those campaigns that you’ll be running. It isn’t enough to just send an email on payday now because people will expect that you need to build up to it, get people looking at your site, get people interested in the products that you’ve got to offer and think about how you can enhance that experience towards that purchasing time. Again, it looks like it’s going to be at the end of the month. So educating on products, educating on what’s available, educating on new releases should be done within the month.
Average Percentage of Sales Volume by Time of Day
Brad: So in this slide, we’re going to talk about the average percentage of sales volume by time of day. If we were to think about a typical working day, or a typical routine or a typical working pattern, it would be reflected in this graph.
So as we build up to the first peak at 10:00am we can kind of understand that somebody is waking up in the morning and then building towards going to work. What we can actually see is that in 2019, we peaked between 8:00 and 9:00, whereas in 2020 we peaked at 10:00 and 11:00. So this could reflect people working from home and that the patterns slightly changed a little bit.
What we will say is that the pattern could be set to continue as people are buying things and converting later on in the day. Why do we say that? Well, Deloitte’s research suggests that remote working is going to stay higher post pandemic so that’s something to be aware of in your coming campaigns.
Ben: Yeah, I think it’s an interesting one as well. The world has changed into a point where working from home is now the norm, which means you need to market to people who aren’t necessarily sitting in their office the way they used to be.
There will be some elements of that that arrive back as people move back into their offices within the city. But as Brad said, the more and more we have a diverse working environment, the more and more people are going to have to be marketed to at different times and expecting a different type of communication, getting to know your audience and their patterns is possibly the best way of dealing with this rather than having a one size fits all approach.
Ben: Okay. So onto the big one, there was a huge shift this year, as there is every year with or without this pandemic and it’s Black Friday. Black Friday is the day where all retailers know people will be online looking to shop. It’s hitting a sweet spot before Christmas. It’s around that payday time and deals are plenty if you’re ready for them.
And planning is key for this. As you can see this year was no exception. We saw 7.4 billion growth in 2019 from 6.2 in 2018, which then grew to 9 billion for Black Friday in 2020.
Brad: Yeah. As Ben says, Black Friday is the pinnacle ecommerce event in the West. It’s a huge opportunity to interact and engage with new customers, especially when you know there’s going to be a huge surge in online shoppers.
And not only this, the intent of shoppers is going to be heightened as well. There’s a real intent to buy in the week leading up to Black Friday. So as you can see, the value of online sales has increased year on year and it is expected to continue. So I guess from a SalesCycle point of view, our advice here is as Ben says, plan the campaigns well before Black Friday and be prepared for the surge in online traffic the week before.
Ben: Yeah, I think planning for Black Friday starts as early as the day after Black Friday and the year before, because you want to be ready. You want to know what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, test your campaigns, see what is doing well, and then try to potentially replicate and test the next year.
This isn’t the end of it. Over that next weekend and into Cyber Monday, we see similar forms of growth year on year. It is actually surpassed in a dramatic fashion by Singles Day, which is very popular in Asia.
We did see growth in the West from companies trying to harness Singles Day, but it is in no way close to the growth you see on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you want more information about this, and this is a teaser for you, go and download the ecommerce report on our website because it goes into so much more detail and a lot more tips and advice to really get your Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Singles Day campaigns ready.
Mobile & Desktop Traffic & Sales
Brad: So in this slide, we’re gonna talk about mobile and desktop traffic and sales. So this is the final slide in this presentation. we can see that although mobile traffic has been strong, it does account for 68% of online shoppers. Your online sales on mobile and desktop is a little bit more evenly distributed at 56% and 44% respectively.
This does suggest that there is a bit of an opportunity for retailers to convert more mobile traffic. So this could be deciding to use a browse abandonment solution, SMS, remarketing, or whatever solution fits your business. But there is a real opportunity to increase mobile conversion rate.
Ben: The buyer behavior is now that people will pick up their laptop when they make a larger purchase potentially, but they can’t make small purchases on their phones. However, they browse an awful lot more on their phones because it’s in their hands all the time.
When you’re looking at TV, when you see product placement, when you’re walking past something in the street and you’ve got an interest in it, there is that search intent but that doesn’t turn into that purchase. You’ve got to keep focused on what you’re trying to do.
So when people are online on their mobile, ensure that you’ve got the best user experience possible, you capture the data at the earliest possible moment. So you can then harness that information to get them back on the site at the right time when they might be ready to purchase. And as we’ve covered, that could be around the end of the month, but the education starts from the point of death
Ben: So I hope you’ve enjoyed the webinar a day. This is a taster of what the ecommerce report has to offer. It is a large report, but it does have amazing insights into different verticals and does exactly what happened last year.
And it helps you benchmark perhaps how you’re doing versus the competition, versus industries out there as well.
You can download your ebook from the SaleCycle website, which is www.salescycle.com. There’s a banner on the homepage for it. You can also go to the blog or the resources page on top of that, if you are interested in any of the solutions that we’ve touched upon today, to help your business move forward, please get in touch and ask for a bespoke demo where one of the team will happily analyze the site and see exactly what we can do for you.
Thank you once again for joining. And it’s a goodbye from me.
The 2021 Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report
The latest data on ecommerce trends and online customer behaviour
Brad Ward is the SEO & Content Manager at SaleCycle. Brad is a former magazine journalist with over 8 years experience in digital, including SEO, social media and copywriting. Brad has written thousands of articles for a range of different sectors including online gambling, travel, education, sports and ecommerce.