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Our Top Digital & eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2023

It's about that time of the year. 'Tis the season to publish trends and predictions. Rather than create our own list of predictions and trends we have brought together the best of the best predictions and trends from experts across the globe.

ecommerce and digital predictions for 2023

1. The dawn of ‘experience commerce’

Whilst eCommerce sales have grown demonstrably over the past few years, the eCommerce experience still lacks the ability to stimulate the senses quite like a physical store experience can. Livestreaming, extended reality and other immersive technologies are set to move us into an era of experience commerce.

In a recent article published by the Drum – Emma Moore a Product Marketing Manager from Zappar anticipated that in the year ahead:

“we’ll be moving into the immersive commerce and experience commerce space – away from traditional e-commerce. There'll be a lot more exploration into augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and extended reality (XR); it'll all be about creating experiences and making people have a memorable time with the brand, putting the customer first and removing the product from the centre of the sales solution or offering. It's all about the experiences that retailers add.”

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2. Re-commerce will accelerate as consumers get thrifty

In 1995 eBay kick started a revolution in the sale of pre-loved / second-hand items but in more recent times the re-sale of items has ballooned. According to Gilles Couvreur, founder of Crosslist “the second-hand retail industry has tripled in value since 2020, worth an estimated $120 billion. With Gen Z driving the industry’s massive growth, there are several trends that will shape the future of second-hand retail in 2023. First, sustainability is playing an important role in driving consumption of second-hand goods, with 40% of shoppers citing this as their main reason for thrift shopping. Second, people are seeking to declutter their wardrobes and homes, but the tough economic times mean they cannot afford to simply donate but try instead to get money back for their goods.”

In 2023 we expect to see an increasing number of brands lean into the opportunities that re-commerce affords as more consumers seek out ways to reduce their environmental footprint and reduce the cost-of-living.

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3. The whole industry leans into privacy challenges

COVID was the catalyst for brands to get serious about eCommerce and digital and the swag of data privacy breaches in Australia in 2022 is the catalyst for brands to start to take data privacy seriously. With new legislation pending and breaches exposing the depth of data brands are hoarding, 2023 will see brands walking the data tight rope in a big way. 3rd party cookie deprecation is driving brands to capture more data, but privacy breaches are providing cautionary tales to capture only what is needed and retain only for however long the data is required. The industry will also be re-thinking its approach to data sharing. According to Richard Knott, GM for ANZ at InfoSum:

“New privacy legislation and the inherent new risks mean brands must look closely at exactly how they collaborate on data. They will need a much better idea of where their data is at any moment and who can do exactly what with it. Anywhere that trust is required in the process of data partnerships will be regarded as a point of possible failure. This means data collaboration will have to be managed without moving consumer data out of your environment."

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Further delays in a cookie-less future

3rd party cookies were first meant to be deprecated by Google in 2022. The deadline was then extended to well into 2023 and then subsequently to 2024. Whilst brands and platforms are breathing a sigh of relief, the delay in deprecation is impacting brand's ability to make the shift and build momentum around the change.

According to InMobi’s Abhay Singhal we could very well see the 3rd party cookie deprecation can kicked down the road once again in 2023. “It is likely Google will once again delay cookie deprecation. The industry has dragged its feet on the cookie-less future and the general response to Google’s Privacy Sandbox has been tepid. It is highly possible that Google will further delay cookie deprecation to 2025 to allow for revenue continuity. At this rate, Privacy Sandbox for Android, which receives more positive reception and less friction, may be implemented in the market ahead of third-party cookie deprecation in Chrome – despite being announced years later.   

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NFTs find a problem to solve

Since a Bored Ape captured the attention of the world, NFTs have continued to evolve and whilst many leading brands have been experimenting, few have leveraged it successfully to create meaningful value beyond a PR stunt.

According to Bernard Marr, however, 2023 will bring us closer to NFTs becoming more usable and practical. Marr suggests “For example, NFT tickets to concerts will potentially give you access to backstage experiences and memorabilia. NFTs might be the keys we use to interact with many of the digital products and services we buy, or they could represent contracts we enter into with other parties. And Forrester agrees, making similar predictions for the year ahead: “The next frontier for NFTs lies in customer loyalty programs. In 2023, smart brands will follow the likes of Louis Vuitton and Starbucks, both of which are using NFTs to enable access to exclusive customer experiences and perks.”

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Metaverse interest waning for brands

To the dismay of Zuckerberg and Forrester, experts are anticipating that 2023 might be the make-or-break year for the metaverse. Whilst still in its infancy, Meta Horizon Worlds has seen a decline in its user base over the past 12 months, as have other major metaverses including Decentraland.

Whilst user interest is waning, so too potentially will brands'. Forrester in its second 2023 predictions report suggested “they expected a pivot away from brand experimentation and superficial ‘one and done’ headline-grabbers towards efforts delivering employee and consumer utility.

“Expect a sober 2023, where the industry focuses on function over form to prove the metaverse’s value to a sceptical potential customer base,”

The metaverse is one for brands to watch closely – it's likely it will see much evolution over the coming years and given it is within its infancy it is difficult to predict its adoption over the long term and whether this may simply be a bump in the road.

Google & Facebook dominance will be tested

In the local ad market, Google & Facebook now command 80% of all digital media spend. But that is potentially all set to change in 2023 with a raft of new avenues for brands to spend their digital dollars.

In August 2022, it was announced Apple is making a bigger play for ad spend with plans to build its own DSP and in recent days it looks like Apple has a big appointment hiring. Vishal Gurbuxani is tasked with building a demand-side platform, which would help marketers automate the buying of Apple ads.

But it isn’t just Apple who are making noises and waves in the digital media space. With over 200 SVOD services now in market and consumer spending subdued, subscription growth is harder to come by. Deloitte predicts that by mid-2023, all major video subscription services will have launched an ad-funded tier alongside ad-free offerings in Europe.

By the end of 2024, Deloitte predicts that half of these providers will also have launched a free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service. Additionally, around two-thirds of consumers will use at least one advertising video on demand service monthly, a 5% increase on 2022. If Deloitte is right – this will create vast amounts of additional inventory in the digital video space and enable brands to finally reach audiences that have been largely locked out of the market.

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