Shopping is becoming an ever more versatile activity. Consumers value the flexibility they have in integrating shopping into their everyday lives. Thanks to smartphones and other mobile devices, consumers and retailers have numerous touch points to engage with each other using multi-channel strategies.
E-commerce in general has been experiencing an unstoppable boom ever since its invention. It is currently making up around one fifth of total retail sales in countries such as China or the UK. However, it is not only general online retail which is on a steady growth path.
Mobile devices play an increasing role in e-commerce. This is one of the reasons why social commerce is also on the rise. 89% of retailers are already active on social media or are planning to engage with social media platforms in the near future.
When taking a look at the customer side, it turns out that consumers particularly value flexibility when it comes to their shopping habits. Many consumers appreciate combining online and offline services in one way or another. Retailers in the US have long recognized this, and are still increasingly investing in multi-channel strategies.
Looking at budgets of US retailers for the five different sales channels e-commerce, mobile commerce, social commerce, physical stores, and voice commerce, it turns out that investments were generally stocked up across the board by the end of 2020. Meanwhile in September 2020, 51% of all interviewed CFOs of US retail companies stated that they increased investments in e-commerce. A total of 64% said that they were going to increase the budget in e-commerce in the six months to come. The same tendency shows for all other sales channels.
While e-commerce is the channel which most retailers planned to invest more in, the biggest difference between the two time frames can be seen in voice commerce. Only 15% stated that they increased investments in voice commerce in the six months prior to September 2020. More than twice as many CFOs announced an investment increase in voice commerce for the six coming months.
Mobile commerce shows the second highest increase of 19%. Somehow surprisingly, physical stores also seem to be of particular importance to US retailers. 39% stated that they were going to increase investments.
The reason might be that the physical store business suffered huge losses during COVID-19 and needed higher budgets to hopefully rise from the ashes. In general an increasing number of retailers raised their budgets in all five sales channels. This is a strong sign that multi-channel might become even more important in the future.
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