Any other business: 17 July 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce trends including COVID-resistant fashion, the growing pet care market, and why brands shouldn’t forget about the older generation.

Move over Millennials…

It’s no surprise that global lockdown has been a catalyst for e-commerce’s growth across the world. But perhaps what is more surprising is the demographic of these new online customers. A recent study1 by market research firm Mintel2 found that in the UK, the older generation is likely to be the main driver of continued e-commerce growth in the short and medium term.

In the survey of 2,000 internet users aged 16+, 43% of those in the 65+ age group said they have shopped more online since the start of the crisis. In comparison, in May 2019, just 16% of this age group shopped online at least once a week.

The older generation’s switch to online shopping is likely a result of increased concerns about being exposed to the virus than other age groups. Additionally, they have been less financially affected by the pandemic, with Gen Z and Millennials more vulnerable to unemployment; of those surveyed, 38% of 16-34-year-olds said they will be cutting back on non-essential purchases, compared to 31% of over 65's.

Fashion fans treated to a behind-the-scenes exclusive

Like so many other brands who explored new digital opportunities during the pandemic, French luxury brand Hermès3 recently ventured online to present its Spring 2021 menswear collection. Rather than a traditional catwalk show, fans were treated to live streaming of a cinematic-style mini-film called Hors Champ, French for “Off Screen”, which recreated the behind-the-scenes action of a real fashion show, featuring shots of the designers preparing the models and close-ups of the clothes.

“These classic off-camera moments of a show, the glimpses one usually never gets are precisely what will, for once, be visible to all,” says Hermès designer Véronique Nichanian4.

Are you giving your customers the best returns service?

E-commerce sellers, listen up. New research has unveiled just how important the returns service you offer is. In a survey5 of almost 1,400 US consumers conducted by YouGov6 and Doddle7, respondents said they weigh returns as equally significant to delivery and payment in their overall e-commerce experience. 84% of respondents said a positive returns experience encourages them to shop with a brand again, whilst 60% said they may be deterred from doing so if the shipping fees to return an item were too high.

The returns process can be a huge and costly affair for the e-commerce sellers, with some analysts estimating that as many as 30% of all products ordered online are returned8. Read our dedicated returns guide for some simple and easy changes you can make to keep your rates lower.

Fashion joins the pandemic fight

With hygiene now a leading concern for consumers, a number of brands in the fashion e-commerce sector are experimenting with using virus-resistant textiles in their designs.

Denim specialists DL19619 and Warp + Weft10, who already have a deep investment in the sustainability of their products, are taking their conscientious commitment a step further for their Fall 2020 collection, using material that has been shown to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

They have partnered with Swiss performance textile company HeiQ11, which uses antimicrobial technology to produce a liquid solution that can be applied to denim, giving it a germ-resistant layer that lasts up to 30 washes. 

“Our mission as a premium denim brand is to make products in a way that is good for the planet and the people on it,” said Sarah Ahmed, Warp + Weft founder. “As safety is at the forefront of our consumers’ concerns, we want to be there to help. Our jeans are designed to make you look good, and feel good about wearing them.”12

Pet lovers drive up e-commerce sales

The global pet care e-commerce market size is expected to reach USD 54.95 billion by 2027, according to a new report13 by Grand View Research14.

North America holds the majority revenue share, whilst pet food is the largest product category in all markets, followed by grooming and medication. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given pet owner's preference for dogs, the canine segment held the leading revenue share in 2019 and is forecast to grow by 10% by 2027. But it’s not all about our four-legged friends – the pet fish and exotic birds category is forecast to experience the fastest growth in the next few years due to increased demand for birdcages and fishbowls. 

Keep up to date with all the latest e-commerce trends from around the world by subscribing to our exclusive newsletter here.

1 – Mintel study, Essential Retail, July 2020

2 – Mintel

3 – Hermès

4 – Véronique Nichanian, Canvas8, July 2020

5 – Returns survey, Cision PR Newswire, June 2020

6 – YouGov

7 – Doddle

8 – Invesp, 2020

9 – DL1961

10 – Warp + Weft

11 – HeiQ

12 – Sarah Ahmed, Canvas8, July 2020

13 – Grand View Research Report, July 2020

14 – Grand View Research