Nearly half, 47%, of online shoppers were frustrated with the 2016 holiday shopping season. Pains came from shipping, returns, lost products, taxes and more. And the rate of unhappy consumers was up 6% from the previous year in every single one of the major global markets that were a part of the Pitney Bowes 2017 Global E-commerce Study.
More specifically by region, 73% of shoppers in Asia Pacific and 36% of shoppers in the U.S.—up 5 percentage points from the previous year—reported problems with holiday shopping.
So, as more and more consumers shift their holiday shopping to online, retailers need to adjust their processes to make the e-commerce experience run more smoothly for holiday 2017.
“Online shoppers have an entire global marketplace at their fingertips. They expect that there is always a way to get the product they want, shipped where they want, when they want it. This creates both opportunities and challenges for retailers," said Lila Snyder, executive vice president and president, global e-commerce and presort services, Pitney Bowes.
On par with 2016 results, 94% of consumers worldwide have made an online purchase this year. And up 4 percentage points from last year, more than one-third of consumers made an online purchase at least once a week.
And consumers are starting to purchase online from other countries. Pitney Bowes reports that 70% of online shoppers have made a cross-border purchase this year, up 6 percentage points from 2016. And they are also expanding their methods of shipping, pick-up and returning. For example, 40% of online shoppers are using click-and-collect, up from 28% the previous year. In the U.S., that number is as high as 46%, up from 27% in 2016.
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When it comes to online purchases, marketplaces are preferred to retailer websites—as many as 67% of shoppers look on marketplaces first; followed by search engines, 46%; retail websites, 40%; social media, 24%; and mobile apps, 23%. And in total, 62% of cross-border and 59% of domestic purchases take place on marketplaces versus retailer websites.
Retailers are starting to catch up with the consumer demand, as more than half, 62%, have cross-border e-commerce. And 93% of retailers plan to have cross-border shopping within the next year, which would be a 50% increase in just one year.
So will e-commerce retailers be ready this year for the holiday rush?
“I hope retailers have learned from the previous online shopping season and I’m optimistic they’ll be ready," Snyder told FierceRetail. "Our data shows retailers have listened and are making plans to invest in areas that will improve the consumer experience. If they heed our recommendations—take a cue from marketplaces in terms of product selection and deals; learn to love shipping; and tailor their cross-border experience with nuanced localization—we’ll see a happier shopper this holiday season. We’ve been working hand in glove with our retail clients to make sure they're strong in all of these areas.”