Any Other Business: 5 March 2021

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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knitting wool in a basket

This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from around the world including the unusual reason behind Etsy’s rise in mitten sales, and why a feminine brand name could help your business engage customers better.

spools of wool on a table

The Bernie Sanders effect gives Etsy a boost

You might not see a connection between American politics and online marketplace Etsy1, but it seems Bernie Sanders’ mittens have changed that. An image of the politician wearing a funky pair at the presidential inauguration went viral on social media in the days after and has since driven US$1.9 million2 in sales of mittens and other Bernie-related e-commerce merchandise (such as mugs featuring the now-iconic image) at Etsy.

The crafts marketplace is currently enjoying record sales, boosted by the rise in online shopping during the pandemic. The company added twice as many new buyers in 2020 as it did in 2019, taking the total number to over 81 million3.

Thinking of selling on Etsy? Be sure to check out our dedicated guide to online marketplaces first.

artefacts on a wall

Locked-down consumers continue to prioritize home spending

With people spending more time at home, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Wayfair4 has emerged as one of the beneficiaries of the pandemic. The homeware e-commerce brand reported that its 2020 Q4 revenues rose nearly 45% year over year, whilst its active customer base grew 53.7% to 31.2 million5.

"Online shopping behavior is becoming increasingly entrenched and consumer demand for the home category remains strong," CEO Niraj Shah said in a statement6. We agree – which is why homeware made our Trending Product Categories for 2021 list. As homeware sales increase, find out what else we predict will be filling online shoppers’ carts this year.

arms on table with scented candle

Cross-border shopping on the rise

A new report7 has revealed the pandemic boosted cross-border e-commerce, with the trend set to continue. In the survey, 32% of consumers from 40 countries said in 2020 they bought more from online retailers in other countries, whilst 51% said they plan to do more international online shopping in the future.

Chinese e-commerce sites attracted the most foreign buyers, followed by those in Germany and then the UK. Amongst the most popular product categories to buy from foreign websites were apparel, groceries, and health and beauty.

heart shape in a window

Think Erica, not Eric, when naming your business

The name of your business is a powerful tool you can leverage to build brand awareness, engage consumers, and drive traffic to your website. Now, new research8 has suggested that feminine brand names are perceived as more likeable.

A marketing study found that consumers associate “warmth” with brands that have linguistically feminine brand names. Such names tend to have two or more syllables and often end in a vowel sound – think Disney or Nestlé.  

With 83% of people wanting more compassionate connections with brands9, the name you choose for your e-commerce business could help you engage with customers better. Check out our naming guide for some top tips.

chair in a corner

IKEA shows that what goes up can also come back down

IKEA10 may be known for its flatpack assembly, but now customers are being invited to do it in reverse. As part of its drive towards sustainability, the brand has created step-by-step guides on how to disassemble its furniture. The idea is to make household items more storage-friendly – say in the event of a house move – thus reducing the temptation to simply throw them away.

“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at IKEA,” said Hege Sæbjørnse11, country sustainability manager for UK and Ireland, adding that the guidelines are part of the company’s drive to become fully circular by 2030 – including using 100% of recycled materials.

1 - Etsy

2 & 3 - Retail Dive, February 2021

4 - Wayfair

5 - Retail Dive, February 2021

6 - Niraj Shah quote, Retail Dive, February 2021

7 - IPC Cross Border E-commerce Shopper Survey, Digital Commerce 360, February 2021

8 - "Is Nestlé a Lady? The Feminine Brand Name Advantage”, Canvas8, February 2021

9 - Canvas8, February 2021

10 - IKEA

11 - Hege Sæbjørnse quote, Canvas8, February 2021