Pandemic Adds US$107 Billion Extra In Online Spending

August saw U.S online sales increase 42% year over year, as COVID-19 continues to keep consumers shopping online, albeit at a lesser rate than the month before, where sales were up 55% year over year.

These figures come from Adobe Analytics, which has also reported that online sales hit US$63 billion in August, while in the first 8 months of 2020 US$497 billion was generated by online sales. According to the research group, the pandemic has accounted for an extra US$107 billion in online spending.

The slowing down in growth during August is due to more stores opening says Adobe. However, shoppers are continuing to look to options such as Buy Online, Pick-up in Store for fulfilment, as August BOPIS sales were 59% higher than in July, and 259% higher year-on-year. Shoppers may be favouring this method as it cuts down the waiting time to receive the product, especially given that many shipping carriers are dealing with much greater levels of orders to fulfill.

In terms of devices, US consumers purchased US$190 billion worth of goods and services via their smartphone in 2020 as of August, while sales from smartphones made up 40% of all online sales so far this year.

In a similar study from IMRG, it was found that omnichannel retailers saw much better results than online-only brands, recording year-on-year growth of 70.5%. It also mentioned that clothing sales were up by 6.8% year-on-year in August, whereas footwear sales fell by 10.7%, making it the only category to not record positive growth since lockdown.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG said: “Now that we are coming out of summer, all attention is inevitably focused on the Black Friday and Christmas period. The big question is just how big Black Friday will be online this year. With most types of business open again, and people being actively encouraged by the government to return to their offices, are we starting to see some signs of online and offline sales balancing out again?

Cross-border Ecommerce A Buyer’s Guide

Boom In Business Messaging Via SMS And Whatsapp

With ecommerce growing at a rapid pace since the global outbreak of COVID-19, Juniper Research has found that many retailers will be turning to mobile messaging to engage consumers.

The research company has found that mobile business messaging traffic has grown 10% in 2020, as retailers attempted to drive traffic to their ecommerce sites during the pandemic. Businesses primarily used SMS for messaging, which included order confirmations, dispatch notices, tracking info and delivery updates. The report explains that 98% of all mobile business messaging will come from SMS throughout 2020.

Investment into alternative means of messaging like RCS from Google, or OTT messaging like Whatsapp has slowed due to the coronavirus.

The report also says that messaging traffic from the retail industry will grow by 20% this year, increasing in volume from 336 billion in 2019 to 408 billion in 2020. This growth is said to be due to the massive increase in online traffic seen since the start of the pandemic.

Whatsapp is also on the rise as a means of mobile business messaging, with research from Mobilesquared forecasting growth of more than 5,400% among medium and large businesses seeking to use WhatsApp. This will mostly be inbound traffic, meaning WhatsApp will be the favoured messaging app for customer care. Large brands like Zara have also started using Whatsapp to engage consumers, while in the US the recent incorporation of a transactional element in RCS marketing messages could allow retailers to actually sell through the medium.

Burberry Announces Twitch-Streamed Fashion Show

Burberry has announced that it will be streaming the Spring/Summer fashion show online via Twitch.

With Covid-19 forcing companies to cancel any large-scale events, brands have tried to find ways to bring in-person experiences online, like Levi’s recent range of digital experiences for back to school shoppers.  Burberry has decided to partner with Twitch, a leading streaming company to create this unique experience, giving virtual guests an interactive and immersive show.

Partnering with Twitch allows the brand to make use of the ‘Squad Stream’ feature, which allows viewers to watch the show from multiple perspectives on the night, as well as messaging each other through the chat button. This initiative is said to be “the next step in Burberry’s journey to continually engage with its community through curated content and experiences”.

Rod Manley, chief marketing officer at Burberry commented: “Burberry has always been a brand of firsts and partnering with Twitch continues this legacy. Twitch unlocks an exciting new space where our Burberry community can be digitally transported to feel like they have a virtual seat at our live show. It is an interactive experience where guests can connect with both our brand and each other whilst personalising their viewing journey.”