By Steve Villegas, VP Payment Partnerships, North America at PPRO
Globally, e-commerce is on the rise as consumers can purchase goods from anywhere in the world with the click of a button. The days of waiting in long lines on Black Friday are over now that shoppers can take care of all of their holiday shopping needs from the comfort of their living rooms. And they can still receive many of the same, and sometimes better, deals as those who venture to brick-and-mortar store locations. Retailers seeking to take advantage of growing patterns with global online shopping will make the experience more convenient and frictionless for digital storefront consumers, and it all comes down to the way they prefer to pay.
Consumers are surfing retail aisles—online
This year’s holiday season was the busiest we’ve encountered, yet the scene was different inside stores. Black Friday foot traffic across the U.S. was down 6.2 precent this year, but sales prevailed. According to NRF, Black Friday topped Cyber Monday as the busiest day for U.S. online shopping at 93.2 million shoppers compared with 83.3 million. Small Business Saturday followed at 58.2 million, Thanksgiving Day at 49.7 million and the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day at 43.1 million in the U.S.
With deals starting earlier and being available both online and in-store, there is less incentive for consumers to physically purchase items from the store during the peak weekend. With the click of a button, they can receive an easier checkout experience as opposed to waiting in long store lines. Desktops were responsible for $48.4 billion of U.S. online sales over the holiday season, smartphones for $39 billion and tablets for $4.1 billion. Success in e-commerce is driven by consumer preferences, and the merchants that offered mobile-friendly payment experiences saw this firsthand during the holiday season.
Online spending at an all-time high
The recent Thanksgiving Weekend saw nearly 190 million shoppers spend an average of $361.90, both online and in-store. Further, Cyber Monday saw $9.4 billion in sales in the U.S., while Black Friday saw $7.5 billion, both shattering previous records, according to Adobe.
These record-breaking figures prove that online shopping has become ingrained into the lifestyles of consumers. It is no longer a matter of getting shoppers through the doors of your store, but rather to entice them to click ‘buy’ online. This comes down to offering a seamless checkout experience, something that differs drastically for consumers of different ages, backgrounds and locations. 59 percent of shoppers will abandon an online transaction if their preferred payment method is unavailable, so personalization is a must in the payments process.
The global opportunity
The uptick in global e-commerce is not just limited to the United States. This past November’s Singles’ Day in China reported $38.4 billion in sales, up around $8 billion from 2018. $1 billion was sold online in the first 68 seconds and $10 billion in the first half-hour. Sales on Singles’ Day, now officially called the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, dwarfed Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined, proving the global e-commerce sales opportunity.
But in order for merchants to tap into this billion-dollar opportunity, they need to be able to reach consumers across the globe. From Asia-Pacific to European regions, the best way to achieve this is by offering consumers their preferred payment method.
From PPRO research, e-commerce makes up 23.7 percent of China’s total retail and 59 percent of their e-commerce transactions are completed on a mobile device. Offering credit card payments will not be nearly as impactful as mobile e-wallets like Alipay and WeChat Pay for Chinese consumers. Crossing over to Western Europe, almost 20 percent of the U.K.’s total retail is from e-commerce sales and 55 percent of those purchases are carried out through a mobile device. Journeying across Eastern Europe, countries like Romania see a little over 42 percent of e-commerce purchases come from mobile.
Global e-commerce sales are on the rise, as consumers are spending less time in the store and more time on their phones, tablets and desktops. Merchants should look to take these shopping styles into account when planning their sales strategy. Today, only 37 percent of U.S. merchants sell cross-border, leaving a major growth opportunity. Knowing your audience and adapting to their needs will help drive sales and increase revenue. The potential to tap into new markets and expand customer bases is there; it is up to merchants to tap into cross-border e-commerce opportunities.