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2022 Digital & eCommerce Trends Briefing

Presented by Teresa Sperti and Brooke Croft, Arktic Fox recently hosted a free, online briefing where we shared the top 8 predicted digital & eCommerce trends for 2022 for Australia. We also discussed the implications of these trends for brands. If you missed the chance to attend – continue reading below.

Trend 1 - Quick Commerce

The first trend discussed was quick commerce, also known as q-commerce, which is really re-shaping the ecommerce space and answering to the modern consumer’s need for speed.

From food and drink deliveries to grocery, health and beauty items and even pet food and supplies – quick commerce, which is usually refers to items that are delivered within 30 minutes or less is on the rise. ​

There are two very distinct players in market

  1. Vertically integrated players who run dark warehouses and manage their own supply chains

  2. Meal delivery platforms which are really evolving to become platforms for goods and services that consumers need now

Vertically integrated start ups are scaling quickly in the US and UK, however we are only now seeing the emergence of them in the local market. Whilst meal delivery platforms are far more mature in Australia and beginning to offer an array of goods beyond restaurant deliveries.

The key takeaways for brands are as follows:

  • Brands need to ensure they are able to derive profitable sales from these platforms. Giving consideration to key shopper missions and needs is important to match product offerings to the platform.

  • Brands also need to consider consumer expectations around rapid delivery for their eCommerce presence and how they need to adapt to meet these changing needs.

Trend 2 - Privacy Beyond Compliance

When it comes to privacy, 2022 will be a very big year for Australian brands. In October 2021, we saw a draft release of a new Online Privacy code.​ The new online privacy code is intended to address particular privacy challenges posed by social media, data brokers and large online platforms which have more than 2.5m end users - but the new online privacy code is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Australian Privacy Act is also facing a major overhaul, with a recent review recommending 67 changes all of which have been outlined in a discussion paper released in October 2022.

What’s more, consumer attitudes have changed demonstrably when it comes to data privacy, and that means brands need to take note and act differently. Australians want more choice over the use of their personal information, with a Deloitte study has finding that 79% want the right to erase their information.

The key takeaways for brands are as follows:

  • Consumers no longer expect for brands to simply comply with legislation but to do what is right by the them as consumers. This means we need to think about ethics not just compliance.

  • Brands need to put greater control in the hands of consumers and provide the transparency they desire when it comes to how we intend to use their data. This is going to be a big shift for many as brands who haven’t historically done so. ​

​Trend 3 - Blindly Walking into a Cookieless Future

Google will obviously commence phasing out cookies next year, so the time to evolve and adapt is fast running out – making 2022 an interesting year for the industry. ​

3rd party cookie deprecation combined with iOS privacy updates is giving rise to a new data economy as brands seek to build and leverage their own 1st party data assets and tap into others. ​2022 will trigger a surge in global investment in data-management and identity-resolution platforms as the industry gears up for the change. Locally in Australia we have already seen strong uptake, interest and investment in customer data platforms (CDPs) to better leverage 1st party data and this is likely to continue in 2022. We also anticipate brands increasingly looking to solutions to match and share data.

The key takeaways for brands are as follows:

  • Our research shows the majority of brands in Australia are not prepared for the change​, but time is fast running out. Brands need to start acting now.

  • Brands also need to be prepared to pivot as new information comes to hand, with even Google itself still evolving its approach.

Trend 4 - Talent War Escalates and Skill Gap Widens

The last 2 years has rapidly accelerated what was a gradual, decade-long migration to digital. This seismic shift, however, has coincided in the widening of an already large digital and data skill gap in the workforce. The demand for digital and data talent is outpacing already short supply and Australia’s border policy has only exacerbated an already tight market and it's only going to get tougher. ​

With skill gaps abound, many organisations are now finally turning their attention and focus to upskill their workforce. In fact a global McKinsey survey in 2021 found that, 69% of organizations are doing more skill building now than they did before the pandemic.​

The key takeaways for brands are as follows:

  • Our marketing state of play study in 2021 found the majority of the marketing & digital workforce, don’t have digital and data literacy skills needed to help organisations navigate the changing landscape. To future proof your career, you need to start investing in your growth now.​

  • Brands large and small need to actively think about how they are equipping their teams with the skills and expertise required to effectively perform their roles.

  • Up-skilling and re-skilling is a journey, not a one and done exercise. Organisations who are in it for the long haul are likely to be able to lift capability, permanently. ​

​Trend 5 - Growth of Social Commerce

As brands increasingly leverage social to drive purchase outcomes, social media platforms are evolving to become eCommerce destinations in their own right, which is set to revolutionise the way we shop. ​

In 2020 Facebook began rolling out features like Facebook Shops, where people can browse, explore and purchase products directly on Facebook and Instagram – this feature has only recently hit Australian shores. Facebook is on a quest to build the world’s largest shoppable social media platform, where billions of items can be bought and sold in one place - and other social platforms like TikTok are following suit.​

The key takeaways for brands are as follows:

  • Brands playing within the eCommerce space need to be thinking about the role social commerce will play in their broader eCommerce strategy.

  • Brands also need to be prepared for migration of audiences that are choosing to shop via these platforms.

Trend 6 - Increasing Dominance of Voice

By 2023 there is estimated to be about 8 billion devices worldwide which have embedded voice assistants. What’s more voice enabled e-commerce transactions are set to grow by 320 percent from approximately $4.6b in 2021 to $19b by 2023.

Locally, smart speaker and voice assistant adoption is also sizeable and growing. According to the smart audio report by Edison, over one-quarter (26%) of Australians age 12+, in 2021 owned a smart speaker which is up 53% from 2020. Of those in Australia who own a smart speaker, two thirds of them are now utilising them daily. A desire to reduce screen time by parents is a key driving force behind adoption.​ ​

The key takeaways for brands are as follows:

  • Without an ability to engage through visual means, many industry pundits are predicting a comeback of the brand jingle, and brands will increasingly adopt digital audio advertising in greater numbers. ​ ​

  • As on-the-go voice search is becoming increasingly popular in the car and via mobile, brands need to be adapting their search strategy accordingly. ​

Trend 7 - Rise of the SuperApp

Super apps essentially bring together several functions including communications, payments, ordering, shopping and others into the one ecosystem. This enables consumers to perform an array of tasks like ordering groceries, booking a taxi or buying concert tickets all in one place.

Super apps have been growing steadily in China, Korea, India and other Asian economies for many years and now boast massive followings. Examples include Alipay and WeChat in China (each with over a billion active users) and Gojek in Southeast Asia. Many of these apps began life serving a distinct function like ride-hailing, eCommerce or social media but as audiences have grown additional functions and services have been integrated. Whilst we are unlikely to see super apps manifest themselves in the same way we have seen in Asia, super apps will emerge in western economies including Australia. CommBank is one brand leading the way in the super app space with early innovations in open banking and retail offer integration.

The key takeaway for brands is as follows:

  • Brands need to watch this space closely. As these ecosystems emerge they have the potential to re-shape how consumers order, pay and shop which has big implications for a range of brands and industries. ​ ​

Trend 8 - Retail Media Networks

Retail media networks, which are effectively advertising networks built by retail businesses are on the rise locally off the back of substantial growth in the US and UK markets. By 2023, it is anticipated that retail media networks will represent one in every $5 spent on digital advertising within the US.​ ​

Whilst there is one or two players of note locally, the space is still very much emerging and we are likely to see several new entrants over the next 12 – 24 months. Capability and knowledge of retail media networks both agency and client side alike will hamper uptake and so growth is likely to accelerate as we reach 2023 & 2024.​

The key takeaways for brands are as follows:

  • The rise of retail media networks is a good thing for the advertising market, as 3rd party cookie deprecation is handing more market power over to those with data like Google and Facebook.

  • Brands will need to be prepared to test and learn to determine how to most successfully leverage these networks and to allow for the networks and themselves to build maturity overtime.

If you'd like to discuss how your brand can leverage any of these trends, get in touch with us. We work with many brands and business leaders to build effective strategies to navigate the changing landscape.

Want to listen to the recording? You can access it here.


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