2021 Ecommerce Forecast & Trends

January 7, 2021

Brands

Consumer Brands Like Nike Use Digital Services to Grow Significantly

The 'digital versus physical' experience is a thing of the past and brands are rapidly reshaping their digital services to meet accelerating consumer preferences. In 2021 we expect brands to launch more digital services and to bring digital and offline experiences closer than ever before. Mobile experience has already become a core part of Nike's strategy and it is working.

“In North America specifically, Q1 revenue declined 1% on a currency neutral basis and EBIT increased 18% on a reported basis. Digital was up nearly 100% driven by triple-digit growth in full price sales and fueled by strong momentum in iconic styles like the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1, along with women’s apparel, which grew nearly 200% in the quarter. Demand on the NIKE App grew 150% in Q1, highlighting the continued shift to mobile experiences.”

Nike Earnings Call

A Hugely Successful Group Discovery Business in ANZ is Launched

Similar to Pinduoduo in China. The Consumer to Manufacturer (C2M) model is when consumers connect directly to manufacturers to purchase a product. This one is a wild one but we're a little surprised no one has done this yet. Call us if you are interested...

A Bubble for Overpriced Public Ecommerce Brands is created on the ASX that do Little Over the Mid Term to Create Value for Shareholders

Maybe not immediately in 2021 but hello MyDeal we are watching you! Your technology company valuations look odd and we're a little dubious over the mid-term. Yes, of course COVID has created an accelerated ecommerce behaviour in consumers that is likely to stick around, but we think your market cap will lose 25% over the next 4 years as Amazon and other players cut your lunch as they are able to meaningfully differentiate.

Macro Trends

YouTube Passes Facebook in Online Platform Time

Coupled with total online video growth and an explosion of higher quality content we predict that YouTube will surpass Facebook to become the place where people spend the majority of their time online. Bold, we know.

Shopify Finance is a Game Changer for Brands as More Modern Solutions to Finance & Lending Are Launched

Powered by Stripe Treasury, cash strapped sub-$1 million dollar Shopify brands now gain access to cheap capital that allows them to better manage their stock levels and accelerate their growth. A few go bust but the majority do well. Faster ways to pay with digital wallets and more flexible payments like instalments will also grow in popularity

Traditional Media Never Fully Recovers to Pre-2020 Levels

Globally speaking in 2020 traditional media (TV, Radio, Magazines, Out of Home, Cinema) had their worst year on record. At this point we don't see it getting much better in 2021 and predict that a complete recovery in aggregate never takes place to pre-2020 levels as online video fills a great portion of consumer attention.

Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store is Further Adopted by Consumers (BOIPS)

Consumers are already adopting this new way of shopping and in New Zealand, the US, and Canada 30% of shoppers did so for the first time since the pandemic started. This will create new opportunities for brands to reconsider how stores as used to best serve consumers.

Consumers Begin to Favour Local Brands Who Authentically Care

Brands must demonstrate authenticity, transparency, and accountability as consumers increasingly begin support local businesses and sustainable products. Global and enterprise brands will struggle to shift to becoming more authentic in their value proposition.

Digital & Advertising

Privacy & Anti-Monopoly Regulation Sees Huge Fines to Facebook, Amazon, Apple or Google

While nothing happens to break apart the big 4, we predict someone sees a landmark fine. Yes, we know this one is a little bit of a soft guess because we have 4 companies to choose from and it is vague in its prediction. Eh, sue us.

Google's Play into Audio Ads is a Resounding Success

YouTube introduced Audio Ads this year. Audio Ads is an audio-first ad format designed to connect brands with audiences using YouTube for their audio needs. We predict this works well and Google is able to use their platform tools to help brands prove ROI from audio advertising.

Google's Organic Shopping Format Becomes Significant in the US

Earlier this year, Google opened up an organic search equivalent of their Google Shopping format to advertisers. We're putting our hat in the ring to say that organic shopping will become a critical piece of the puzzle and smart ecommerce brands will be already optimising their feeds. Free advertising? Yes please.

Email and SMS Marketing Experiences a Significant Groundswell in Usage as Privacy and data Regulation Impact Advertisers

Email and SMS marketing undergo significant growth in 2021. Consumers begin to experience some fatigue through SMS and smart brands begin leveraging mobile apps and push notifications. Local adoption of SMS here in Australia has grow in 2020 but we predict will be eclipsed by 2021's numbers.

Google's New Discovery Ad Format Does Not Perform and is Scrapped

Touted as Google's play towards audience targeting and demand generation (ie, Google's attempt to capture Facebook dollars) we predict that the Google Discovery Ads format fails to work for advertisers and is ultimately scrapped by Google.

An Emerging Advertiser is the Subject of a Major Global Ad Fraud Event

Snap, TikTok, Tinder, or someone other than Google or Facebook is going to fall victim to a major Ad Fraud scheme that impacts their business and millions of their customers. It is going to be bad but will hopefully lead to better regulation and security for user data.

Lower Cost Tech Solutions for Video Development Are Adopted Rapidly

Companies like ClipChamp see significant adoption as brands seek to lower their costs in content creation. Brands also choose to shift production of this content in-house.

Ecommerce Ecosystem & Services

Digital Agencies Continue to Peddle CPA & Revenue as Success

As all good accountants say, "Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is reality". We predict no change to the way digital agencies position measure the success of their work. CPA and top line revenue will continue to be touted as good marketing while unit-economics and lifetime value are pushed under the rug (except at Gallantway, of course).

Ecommerce Shipping & Fulfillment Becomes More Competitive

As consumers place more pressure on brands to deliver faster and cheaper shipping services new entrants to the fulfillment value chain emerge pushing shipping pricing down through lower-cost API integrations.

Ecommerce Insurance is Launched (By Gallantway?)

Specialist ecommerce insurance solutions emerge to meet a new wave of demand from micro and small stores who are undergrowing significant growth. Interested? Let us know, so are we.

Ecommerce Legal Professionals

Just as fintech, insuretech and all of the other "tech" sectors were supported by new legal services, we also see legal professionals tailoring their services specifically to meet the demand of this new wave of brands.