May 2021 COVID-19 + Ecommerce News Roundup

Sarah Davis Content Author

Marketing to consumers in a post-pandemic world

Sending the right communication to the right customers only became more important with the pandemic as brands and consumers alike struggled to adjust to a rapidly shifting marketplace. As a result, many ecommerce brands have shifted their marketing strategies completely.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, 70% of brand decision-makers say they had to reprioritize their marketing channels or rethink their channel strategy. 65% express the need for more frequent communication with customers.

72% of marketers will prioritize improving the quality of their customer data over the next 12 months.

Email will be the top channel that brands use to communicate with customers and prospects in 2021, though voice search and ads are also making their way up the ladder. 50% of marketing decision-makers say they’ll use voice as a marketing channel this year.


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Augmented reality adoption surges in light of COVID-19

The pandemic accelerated consumer adoption of virtual technology, with monthly augmented reality (AR) users surging to 83.7 million from 72.8 million last year.

In 2021, 93.3 million US consumers are projected to be monthly AR users.

Virtual reality (VR) and AR have grown for use cases relevant to ecommerce brands like the ability for shoppers to try on make-up or accessories virtually or see how a product would look in a certain room by uploading a photo.

VR is expected to grow from 50.2 million monthly users last year to 58.9 monthly users in 2021. By 2023, nearly 66 million Americans will be monthly VR users.

Total AR and VR users will approach 166 million by 2022, an 8.8% increase from what’s projected for 2021. By 2023, that number will reach 176 million, a nearly 16% increase over 2021.

Mobile ecommerce + COVID-19 stats

Mobile retail commerce sales grew 31.5% in 2020 and are expected to surge another 28.8% this year. By 2022, mobile retail revenue will pass $432 billion, a 25.1% increase over 2021.

Mobile revenue saw its most significant growth in 2020 in light of the pandemic and consumers spending more time shopping on their phones.

Contactless payment via mobile devices has also seen steady growth as a safer way to shop. In 2018, just 27.3% of US smartphone users were making proximity mobile payment transactions, but that’s projected to grow to 33.1% by next year.

Average order value is still lowest on mobile, however, with online desktop orders having an AOV of $131.16 compared to $90.82 on mobile at the height of the pandemic last year. Mobile has less competition with tablet for AOV, which sat at approximately $96.75 in Q2 2020.

Post-pandemic paid search ad spend trajectory skyrocketing

Search ad spend in the US fell $2 billion short of pre-pandemic projections last year but still hit a new record of $61.7 billion.

Conversely, the forecasted paid search ad spend for the next three years has grown significantly over those pre-pandemic projections. This year’s ad spend is projected to reach $76.5 billion, a slight uptick from March 2020’s forecast of $72.7 billion.

By 2024, annual paid ad spend is projected to hit $109.1 billion, a 19% increase from March 2020’s projection of $91.32 billion.

Paid search ad spend will grow 24.0% in 2021 over 2020 and approach $87 billion by 2022. In 2019, spend was just $55.9 billion. It will be nearly double that in 2024.

We’ve been updating our How Coronavirus Is Impacting Ecommerce blog post since last March when the pandemic started taking shape. Read it here and keep it bookmarked to stay up-to-date with all of the latest coronavirus + ecommerce news.

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