After a turbulent year for ecommerce and online retail, we’re all beginning to cast our minds to the future, to think about what might be in store for those in the industry. What might ecommerce look like in 2022, and what will be the key issues to look out for?
A lot of what happens in 2022 will be swayed by global and economic factors, such as the pandemic, and how supply chain issues play out. The ecommerce market has been generally down this year, and Black Friday took a loss of -14% overall negative growth. The impacts of these factors have been felt by retailers and software providers alike, as the market has seen huge changes.
As shown in the graph below, online retail took a huge hit in April 2021, when the high street reopened after UK lockdowns. Growth was up by 60% at the start of the year, but once physical retailers reopened, we saw ecommerce plummet, where it’s stayed in negative growth ever since. This is an interesting indicator of how next year could play out, as if there is another wave of lockdowns, then online retail has potential for a huge comeback, whereas if not, then it will be looking at recovering growth from 2021. Growth was so high in 2020, that 2021 couldn’t match it, so anything could happen in 2022, depending on how online fares against the high street.
(Source: IMRG Digital Dashboard)
Another factor that could influence ecommerce in 2022 is the supply chain issues that have been ongoing during 2021. Dependent on how they play out, and whether they resolve themselves this year, 2022 could see changes. For example, it’s predicted that the fallout of the Suez canal blockage will continue into 2022, therefore the price of shipping containers, and acquiring stock from Asia will remain high. Additionally, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may lead to more worker shortages, as people are sick, ‘pinged’ by the NHS app, or moving to better paid work (as retailers report needing to pay higher salaries to retain HGV driver and warehouse workers).
To conclude, it’s safe to say that we’ll continue to see issues in the world of online retail, well into 2022. For example, stock shortages, supply issues and the pandemic aren’t likely to disappear completely, however, there is potential to see extreme growth once again, were the high streets to be closed by governments across Europe.