How Consumer Shopping Has Revolutionized Over the Years

Commerce has been on a fast revolution train that has seen slow-to-adapt brands get out of business. From the traditional days when all shopping was done in-store, consumer shopping behavior has experienced a significant shakeup with the introduction of e-commerce.

Data shows that 74% of internet users in the EU shopped online in 2021. Data from the U.S. shows that 266.7 million shoppers buy online.

However, consumer shopping has changed beyond commerce simply moving online. Over the years, there has been considerable revolution in payments, shopping experiences, and shopping preferences.

Let’s take a deeper look into how consumer shopping behavior has changed in recent years and what you should expect in the future.

The Introduction of Shopping Malls

Perhaps one of the biggest consumer shopping revolutions was the introduction of the shopping mall. The first mall in history, Southdale Center, located outside Minneapolis, opened its doors to shoppers in the 1950s.

After its successful launch, malls became the most popular retail concept.

Indoor malls featured anchored shops and smaller stores spread across multiple floors. Most malls also included a food court. Over the decades, malls added other entertainment elements to improve the retail experience. As such, they became the go-to destination for teenagers, families, and tourists.

For instance, you’d find a mall with mini golf, beautiful fountains, a movie theater, an arcade, and a large clock tower. The amenities incentivized visitors to stay for longer to enjoy various experiences, spending equally more time shopping.

The Impact of Online Shopping

Online shopping would change everything. On August 1994, with computers making their way to almost every U.S. household, the New York Times released an article titled “Attention Shoppers: Internet is Open.”

This marked the dawn of the e-commerce age, dominated by Amazon, eBay, and other e-commerce giants. However, before that article was published, e-commerce’s entrance into the shopping scene had been preamble by the first-ever online transaction.

The first online transaction was recorded in 1979, paving the way for shoppers to pay for their products more conveniently. Therefore, with e-commerce taking force, companies trading online could offer cheaper, more convenient, and more accessible shopping to their customers.

The Transition to Mobile and Social Media Shopping

E-commerce did not just introduce a new medium for shopping. It also changed consumer shopping behavior significantly thanks to advanced monetization methods, technological breakthroughs, and new online shopping platforms.

Reports show that mobile commerce jumped into the scene in 1997 after Kevin Duffey launched the Global Mobile Commerce Platform. That same year, Coca-Cola installed the world’s first two mobile-phone-enabled vending machines in Helsinki. They accepted mobile payments via SMS text messages.

The explosion of Facebook in 2006 introduced social media shopping to the masses. Social media shopping has evolved to provide shoppable posts, a straightforward way of turning social media followers into direct customers.

These are still the driving forces of changes in consumer shopping behavior today.

Many in-store retailers within malls have faced a decline in shopping, leaving them scrambling to survive. Data shows that Amazon, the largest e-commerce platform globally, contributes to a third of all retail products bought or sold online in the U.S.

With the demographic of buyers also changing, data shows that millennials and younger generations are buying more products online than in physical stores.

Consumer Shopping Trends That Are Shaping Current Consumer Shopping

Technological breakthroughs are introducing new, exciting, and disruptive consumer behavior as online shopping gains more traction. They include the following:

Shoppers Are Experimenting with New Brands for Better Deals

You can easily win a modern shopper if your shopping experience is more encompassing compared to the competition. Data shows that 70% of consumers find it important that a brand offers them a personalized experience.

Also, out of the one-third who’ll purchase from a new brand, 51% will be lured by better sales and prices. 48% will buy from the brand because of better ease of online shopping, and 43% will spend their cash on the business because of its great selections.

Voice Assistants are Helping Consumers Find Products

Voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are now crucial in making brands visible to online shoppers using voice search. Statistics show that in 2022, about $40 billion in transactions were made through voice-activated devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

This is a substantial increase compared to the $2 billion in transactions made five years earlier, in 2017.

Consumers Trust Influencer Recommendations

Influencers have become a key part of e-commerce marketing in recent years. Data shows that brands spent about $3.7 billion in influencer marketing in 2021, marking a 33% increase compared to 2020 figures.

Consumers trust influencer-led content because it’s more authentic and human than typical brand campaigns. Data shows that 61% of consumers will trust influencer recommendations, making them an essential part of your e-commerce strategy.

Consumers are Looking for a Merge of Online and In-Store Experiences

E-commerce didn’t take over the entire consumer shopping landscape. For some items, such as furniture, gardening supplies, and food, customers mostly shop in-store because of these products’ unique nature.

Also, despite most shopping for fashion products happening online, many buyers would still prefer in-store shopping to try on the products and decide on crucial aspects such as fit for themselves.

The emerging solution to this need is merging the two through virtual shopping experiences.

Big fashion brands such as Calvin Klein caught wind of this trend and partnered with us to create virtual shopping experiences through virtual stores for their customers. Therefore, buyers can virtually walk to their stores, try on their products, and be confident that the item fits their needs.

What the Metaverse Holds

The metaverse is poised to be an online shopping game-changer. It will allow buyers to access a brand’s offering in interactive, immersive, and elaborate 3D virtual worlds, extending the shopping experience to unique worlds created by the user.

According to a survey done in 2022, 36% of adults online already have an interest in shopping in the metaverse. It’s expected that the metaverse will pave the way to hyper-personalized shopping experiences and a new range of products that companies can sell in the physical and digital worlds, improving sales and revenue.

Prepare Yourself for New Consumer Habits

The time to act on changing consumer behavior is now. Immersive virtual shopping experiences will soon highlight E-commerce. Put yourself ahead of the trends by contacting us and letting us drive immersive changes to your shopping experience.

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BY-Kohls
Data-driven UX Optimization
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