BigCommerce recently published a new report revealing current and upcoming consumer trends, to help merchants future-proof their stores. As an industry, ecommerce is continuing to grow from strength to strength. In the study conducted for the Global Consumer Report: Current and Future Shopping Trends, BigCommerce found that over half of consumers buy online at least once a week. But as it grows, it changes and customer expectations are ever-evolving. This article picks out 5 important trends that merchants need to be aware of to stay relevant and competitive.
  1. Why are shoppers choosing to use Buy Now Pay Later?
  2. How much of a difference does personalisation make? 
  3. How important is sustainability to consumers? 
  4. Do consumers really understand the metaverse?
  5. Is cryptocurrency the future of ecommerce payment?

Why are shoppers choosing to use Buy Now Pay Later?

woman with hydrating eye mask and her hair in a towel sitting on the sofa and shopping online on her laptop

Increasingly a buzzword among ecommerce merchants and payment providers, buy now pay later (BNPL) still only makes up 2.9% of global ecommerce transactions. However, the market share is growing and it is expected to rise to 5.3% by 2025.  Of the participants in BigCommerce’s study, only 16% have used BNPL in the past. The study included 4,225 participants from the US, UK, Italy, France and Australia. Participants had to be over 18 and have shopped online an average of at least once a year.  Of the participants that had previously used BNPL, only 8% came from France and Italy, and the majority were from Australia, the US and the UK.  With the cost of living crisis, you might expect that budgeting would be the main motivation for consumers to make use of buy now pay later options. However, while budget requirements make up 49% of consumer motivation, lower-income shoppers are not the only ones interested in the service. Higher-income consumers use it as well but prefer it not for budgeting reasons but for transparency and convenience. This is important to bear in mind if your brand targets higher-end budgets, don’t disregard BNPL as a favoured payment option.   

How much of a difference does personalisation make?

woman pointing directly at the camera Studies by Google have shown that consumers are far more likely to be loyal to brands that give them personalised experiences. In an age of data protection worries, consumers are surprisingly willing to share their details in exchange for a personalised shopping experience. In fact, BigCommerce found that only 28% of consumers are entirely unwilling to share personal information just to gain a personalised experience.  Of that large majority of consumers willing to share personal details, the digital natives – Gen Z and Millenials – are significantly more comfortable sharing their data than Gen X and Baby Boomers. This means if your business caters mostly towards older generations, you don’t need to place as much emphasis on personalisation.  The information customers are most willing to share is their email address, gender and name. While they are most reluctant to share social media details and their home address. Although, interestingly, Italy stands out as being most willing to share social media details.   

How important is sustainability to consumers?

Two school children with a model of three houses, a wind turbine and a lightbulb, learning about sustainability According to Google trends, global interest in sustainability has more than tripled in the last 5 years. Over 80% of consumers consider sustainability to be an important factor in making purchasing decisions, with only 17% of study participants being indifferent.  Gen Z cares the most about sustainability with only 8.5% of study participants in this age bracket being indifferent to a brand’s sustainability efforts. On the other hand, 27% of Baby Boomers didn’t care about sustainability. This is important to know for brands targeting a younger audience, to be aware of their priorities and make a point of highlighting sustainable efforts within the brand.  Income level also plays a role in consumers’ interest in sustainability. Higher-income shoppers are more likely to shop from a brand that emphasises sustainability.  It is important to note that while the majority of consumers do prioritise sustainability and want to support businesses in their efforts, they are unwilling to pay extra for their products in “sustainability tax”. The most likely concession shoppers are willing to make is to only receive their orders on set days to increase last-mile sustainability.  

Do consumers really understand the metaverse?

woman sitting outside in the sunshine wearing a virtual reality headset, looking upwards The Metaverse is defined by eMarketer as “any mixed-reality realm that, while rooted in real life, lets participants collaborate and transact in immersive virtual spaces via augmented reality and virtual headsets and controllers.” More than 9 in 10 Americans currently use or would be willing to use augmented reality while online shopping, according to a study by Google and Ipsos. And of those that have already used it, 98% found it to be helpful in their buying process.  However, despite the exciting potential of augmented or virtual reality, only 26% of consumers say they have a truly strong understanding of the metaverse. While 33% have no understanding of what it is at all. So there is great potential for merchants to use the metaverse and big brands from Nike to Samsung are already making innovative use of it.  But a certain degree of education might be needed as well to ensure your customers understand how to use the tools.   

Is cryptocurrency the future of ecommerce payment?

woman holding two gold bitcoins up to her eyes Only 5% of consumers have already used cryptocurrency, mostly shoppers from the US and Italy. Of that 5% of consumers, 66% prefer cryptocurrency to other payment methods while the other 34% of study participants said the availability of cryptocurrency as a payment method doesn’t affect their purchasing decisions.  So it is still pretty early to decide whether cryptocurrency is going to take off as a mainstream payment method but it is interesting to note that for over a quarter of consumers, the reason they haven’t yet used cryptocurrency in ecommerce is simply that merchants don’t offer it. So there is definitely potential for usage to increase if merchants provide the opportunity.  Consumers in the US are the least comfortable with cryptocurrency while Italians have the greatest understanding of it and are most eager to use it as a payment method. So consider the location of your target market when deciding whether cryptocurrency is the right next step for your business.   

Main takeaways from the BigCommerce Global Consumer Report: Current and Future Shopping Trends

The expectations of ecommerce shoppers are changing. As the entirely digital native generation, Gen Z, is gaining buying power, they are expecting greater flexibility and innovation from ecommerce merchants.  It is no longer enough to simply offer a good customer experience. It is increasingly important to leverage customer data to provide personalised experiences and build open and honest relationships around customers’ interests and your brand values. Consumers expect brands to have a conscience and a clear strategy to increase their sustainability. Consumers expect innovation from brands with tools such as augmented reality to help them interact with products virtually before purchasing. They also expect brands to provide their preferred payment options at checkout such as buy now pay later, and potentially even cryptocurrency.  BigCommerce’s advice to merchants: Stay agile while focusing on trends that will have the greatest impact on your ecommerce business. We hope that by sharing our proprietary survey data along with search trends and research from Google, we’ve given brands the insights they need to adapt to current consumer shopping trends — and to start designing tomorrow’s retail experiences.  

How can Calashock help?

We are not just a specialist, Elite BigCommerce Partner, but also one of the very first, having worked exclusively with BigCommerce and grown together with the platform since the very beginning, in 2009. Our expert team have unparalleled knowledge of the platform and specialises in building beautiful, intuitive and innovative ecommerce stores. If you are ready for a sensational ecommerce transformation, get in touch with the team to discuss your business needs and how we can help. 

by Verena