What does the future hold for eCommerce businesses?
It comes to no surprise that, especially in recent years, eCommerce consumer behaviour has changed drastically. Most particularly during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, consumption patterns, using the means of eCommerce, had no other option but to evolve and adapt.
Significant Change from Desktop to Mobile
The recent study that was carried out by the Malta Communications Authority, to analyse eCommerce consumer behaviour, revealed that in 2020, there has been a 2% increase in Internet usage, when compared to a previous study that was conducted in 2016. More significant is the change of Internet usage from smartphones. The study records a change from 59% in 2016 to 82% of Internet users accessing Internet on their smartphones in 2020 with 65% carrying out internet banking activities and effective payments online.
The trend is most prevalent amongst users between 18 and 54 years of age. This age group is more tech-savvy and most of them tend to use multiple devices interchangeably. They are also confident in conducting Internet banking and effecting payments using their smartphones. With the rise of user-friendly and efficient mobile payment apps, digital payments are on the rise. Undoubtedly, digital marketing plays a great role in driving traffic and conversion to your eCommerce website. Before consumers make a purchase, they would have, most likely, viewed your online ads, your social media posts or received an email newsletter from your company. Although some companies still prefer to advertise on traditional media, this eCommerce consumer behaviour study shows that only a mere 15% would have followed up on your advert shown on TV, newspaper, or magazine.
Analysing eCommerce Consumer Behaviour
In recent years, the competition of local eCommerce websites has been on the rise. It is no wonder that the Maltese population has shifted their perspective into buying more of their purchases online. Although the study shows that most tend to use sites abroad for online buying, purchasing from online suppliers based in Malta is also on the increase when compared to previous surveys.
This increase in eCommerce businesses could be linked to a number of factors including the eCommerce Grant scheme and the Covid-19 pandemic which gave no choice to retailers to switch to an online business in times of closure.
Understandably, this survey indicated a rise in online grocery shopping. However, it was still far behind from sectors such as retail, take-away food and IT products and appliances. Furthermore, 13% of consumers prefer to buy from local eCommerce sites while 59% have no preference between local and foreign websites.
During the last year, amidst the pandemic, 27% of digital users saw a rise in their online shopping while 57% did not see any changes to their digital shopping. Only 1% found themselves having to adjust to purchasing online for the first time. The future is bright for eCommerce websites as only 9% intend to decrease their online shopping while 15% of digital users’ intent on increasing their online purchases.
When it comes to the average amount spent, the age group that is most likely to spend online is that of 45 to 54 years old, 24% spending on average between €101 to €150 on a single purchase. Like in previous surveys, the preferred payment method is PayPal while credit cards have decreased drastically to 47% in 2020 from 65% in 2016.
On the other hand, people who are not keen on committing an online purchase claim that this is because of a number of reasons – 59% state a lack of interest or motivation, 35% enjoy the physical experience of going into a traditional store while 25% prefer to see and try the items first-hand before making the final decision on a purchase.
The effects of the pandemic on eCommerce are yet to be uncovered. However, the future's looking brighter and more competitive for the eCommerce sector. It is time for your business to analyse the trends and stay on top of its game.