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This week's top 5 e-commerce trends: 3 December 2021

Business · 3 min read

Any Other Business: 03 December 2021

This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from around the world including DHL’s ground-breaking report on pandemic-era globalization, and the surprising new use for unwanted Christmas trees.

Ready to sell to the world? DHL’s Global Connectedness Index has drawn on over 3.5 million data points to find you the best route there…

DHL’s annual report – which has just been updated – takes an in-depth look at the connections that power globalization. People often equate globalization with international trade, but it’s much more than that; it’s also the cross-border flows of capital, information and people. And of course, the pandemic’s impact on all of this – which has arguably made this report the most important one yet.

“The advantage of commissioning an annual analysis of global connectedness is that we are among the first to be able to put the events of 2020 – 21 into context. This report provides an extensive overview of what actually happened,” says Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL Group.

Now in its tenth year, DHL’s Global Connectedness Index is a must-read for anyone with international ambitions for their e-commerce business. After all, to sell to the world, you must first understand its markets. Download your free copy now.

Budget-conscious holiday shoppers turn to BNPL

Are you offering your customers a “Buy Now Pay Later” solution at checkout? According to a report by BNPL provider Butter1, 22% of UK consumers are planning to use this payment method to spread the cost of their Christmas shopping2. 54% of them attributed this decision to the desire to manage their finances better.

BNPL solutions have been rising in popularity in recent years – in October alone, 28% of the adult population in the UK made at least one purchase using this payment method3, whilst in the US, leading provider Klarna4 hit 20 million customers in August5.

Discover how the payment methods your business offers at checkout can boost your sales with our exclusive guide to the new ways to pay.  

B2B marketplace empowers smaller brands

Over the last few years, B2B marketplaces have begun to find their feet. One player, Faire6, has grown so quickly since its launch in 2017 that it has earned coveted “unicorn” status – a privately owned company valued at over US$1 billion. 

The online wholesaler connects 300,000 retailers with 40,000 independent brands across categories including home décor, pets, beauty and apparel. It’s present in 15 markets in Europe and the UK, with plans to expand internationally thanks to a recent round of fundraising.

The company helps small businesses compete on a more level playing field against the likes of Amazon and Walmart. “By removing the traditional growth hurdles our customers face, we have enabled more opportunities, more connections and more possibilities for the entrepreneurs who use the platform,” co-founder Max Rhodes said7.

Retailers purchasing from a new brand on the marketplace have 60 days to see how the products sell before paying for them – at which point Faire takes a commission.

Want to smell like Christmas?

Any festive fan will know that searching for the perfect Christmas tree is a serious business. Now the unlucky trees neglected by picky buyers will have another purpose in life.

Refill deodorant brand Fussy8 has come up with the innovative idea of upcycling wonky and misshapen Christmas trees into pine-scented deodorant. The e-commerce company has partnered with a UK-based tree wholesaler for the new creation, using those which have failed quality control.

“We didn’t want to release just another novelty scent this Christmas, but to make an actual difference,” Fussy’s co-founder Matt Kennedy said9. “Plus, who doesn’t want to smell like a Christmas tree?”

What surprises has your business got in store for customers this Christmas? Whatever you’re planning, ensure you’re ready for the rush with our guide to managing the peak holiday shopping season.

High-street favorite enters the rental space

British retailer Marks and Spencer10 has teamed up with fashion rental platform Hirestreet11 to allow customers to rent pieces from its womenswear collections for a fraction of the cost of purchasing.

The new service is tapping into the fast-growing clothing rental market, which has been largely driven by sustainability-conscious consumers. “We know customers are increasingly interested in the circular fashion economy,” explained Katie Bickerstaffe, M&S CEO12.

The company has consigned around 500 pieces from its current collection to Hirestreet, which will manage all of the logistics. Customers can keep pieces for up to 30 days.

Globally, the rental apparel market is expected to reach US$7 billion by 202513. It is seen by many as the answer to the environmental damage caused by the “fast fashion” sector, although others would argue the extra emissions caused by returning the rentals is just as bad.  

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1 - Butter

2 & 3 - Ecommerce News Europe, November 2021

4 - Klarna

5 - Klarna press release, August 2021

6 - Faire

7 - Max Rhodes, PYMNTS.com, November 2021

8 - Fussy

9 - Matt Kennedy, Cosmetics Business, November 2021

10 - Marks and Spencer

11 - Hirestreet

12 - Katie Bickerstaffe, Business of Fashion, November 2021

13 - Statista, published October 2021

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson Discover content team

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