Retail & Ecommerce


eMarketer principal analyst Victoria Petrock discusses what she learned from the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. She then explains the significance of facial recognition bias and why paying with your hand makes sense.

For Alexandra Waldman, launching Universal Standard was a no-brainer. She struggled to find clothes that fit her size-20 frame—even something as simple as a T-shirt that didn’t have a puppy or a "live, laugh, love" affirmation on it.

We thought 2019 would be the year when social properties finally started making measurable gains in social commerce, and we were right. Instagram led the way, with several new shopping features, including Checkout, that make it easier for consumers to go from inspiration to purchase.

The US has been relatively late in introducing contactless cards, which are credit or debit cards that include a near field communication (NFC) chip that can complete a transaction simply by tapping on a reader. But those cards are starting to arrive in the US now that most point-of-sale (POS) systems have the NFC capabilities to accept them.

Most consumers want a product delivered the second they order it, and Amazon is betting on that behavior to drive more sales by offering free one-day shipping on Prime-eligible products. An October 2019 CivicScience survey found that a plurality of US internet users would rather order a low-cost item (less than $5) via Amazon than buy it in-store.

Reviews play a central role in the path to purchase, and many consumers don’t just skim them before purchasing—or passing on—a product. Some will spend anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour to make sure they’re making the right choice.

Consumers are becoming more cognizant of their spending, some even considering financing high-ticket purchases in an effort to not spend all their money in one transaction.

China has proven to be a hotbed for digital innovations, especially in the past few years. During this time, marketers worldwide have observed the latest trends coming out of the country, applying what they learn to their own markets.

Mobile dethroned TV in 2019 as the channel where US adults spent the most time. While it may be a symbolic threshold for now, it’s still notable that the average US adult spent 3 hours, 43 minutes (3:43) on their mobile devices in 2019, compared with the average 3:35 spent watching TV. As recently as 2016, US adults watched nearly an hour more of TV than they spent on their smartphones and tablets (4:05 vs. 3:08).

Marketers have embraced location data for several reasons. It can help personalize experiences for customers, better isolate customer paths to purchase, create better customer segments, and identify opportune moments to target potential clients. But new restrictions on collecting location data will make it more costly for advertisers in 2020.

eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg and principal analysts Jillian Ryan and Yory Wurmser discuss what the digital world will look like in 2020. They then talk about Instagram's user growth deceleration and what shoppers want from in-store associates.

Consumer adoption of online grocery—led primarily by Amazon and Walmart—saw hockey-stick growth last year. As these two Goliaths vie for market control, conflicting reports have made it difficult to determine who has the momentum, and where consumers prefer to shop.

For many consumers who have seen early ads for Handy, they may know the company solely for house cleaning. It focused mostly on marketing that segment in the beginning, but it also provides a range of other services, including home renovation and installations.

Amid all the handwringing about screen time—plus the demise of Toys "R" Us—one could easily imagine that kids have lost interest in toys. But they haven’t.

Proximity mobile payments are reshaping traditional payment methods in Latin America, providing consumers with a faster, more convenient and streamlined payment experience for their everyday purchases. This year, we forecast that 13.3% of Latin America smartphone users ages 14 and older will make at least one proximity mobile payment. That represents 33.4 million individuals or 6.7% of the region’s population.

Consumers are constantly in search of convenience, particularly in the form of timesaving. In the past 12 months, numerous direct-to-consumer (D2C) meal plan services have emerged, offering consumers an alternative solution to home cooking without paying a dreaded visit to the grocery store—or spending time trying to figure out a recipe.

Aptly named D2C brand Brandless, an online purveyor of minimalist grocery, wellness and home goods, has oriented its brand around the rise of digital-first shoppers who prefer products that include fewer, more natural ingredients. These shoppers have an evolving view of brands and don’t harbor any particular affinity for household names they grew up with.

eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman discusses one thing that summed up 2019 for him and some of his predictions for 2020, focusing on the delivery wars.

Though social commerce conversions will remain a challenge, the mid-funnel opportunity is growing. Instagram’s continued rollout of shoppable content features is helping brands and influencers spotlight product content and forge a better path to purchase. Pinterest has also introduced features to make it easier for retailers to upload and promote product content. And video-first platforms Snapchat and TikTok are both testing shoppable content features.

While our 2019 prediction of digital’s influence on the reinvention of brick-and-mortar has materialized, it may have also undersold Amazon’s omnipresence in the space. The 800-pound gorilla of retail will continue to cast a wide shadow.