Shopping online or selling products via online stores is becoming increasingly commonplace for customers and retailers alike. According to the latest figures from the German E-Commerce and Mail Order Trade Association (Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel, bevh), industry sales of goods in e-commerce grew by a whopping 19 percent last year. And the association also expects double-digit growth for 2022. The good thing is that print service providers could also benefit from this development.
Almost one in seven euros was spent on goods in e-commerce last year, according to the bevh’s annual review. Excluding sales of groceries, the figure was as high as one in five euros. In 2021, sales of 99.1 billion euros were generated with goods sold and purchased via e-commerce platforms alone; including digital services, the total volume even amounted to 107 billion euros.
However, the industry has not only grown since Corona caused lockdown after lockdown, but even before. Nevertheless, the pandemic has given a boost to the various areas of e-commerce. Growth was already 14.6 percent in 2020, 19 percent in 2021 and 12 percent is still expected for 2022.
But three other aspects are also interesting and underline what bevh sums up from the annual report, namely that e-commerce is the new “normal”. Firstly, online retail platforms are no longer just something for the younger generation. Rather, according to the association, they have now arrived in the middle of society: After all, shoppers 50+ were once again responsible for at least half of all purchases on the Internet.
Smartphones and tablets are also playing their part in the development. After all, in 2021, 40 percent of all e-commerce with goods was generated via mobile devices. If the first pandemic year of 2020 is included, growth in so-called mobile commerce amounts to almost 57 percent and totaled EUR 39.9 billion at the end of 2021. The generation of 14 to 29-year-olds in particular often makes disproportionate purchases via smartphone and tablet; social shopping has long been an important trend in the large field of e-commerce – and one that online store operators in the printing industry should not ignore.
Another sign that online retailing has established itself at all levels of society is customer satisfaction. According to bevh, the proportion of online customers who were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their purchases is over 95 percent. Never before has so much shopping been done online in Germany with such a high satisfaction rate.
For the “Interactive Commerce in Germany” consumer survey, 40,000 private individuals aged 14 and over were questioned from January to December about their spending behavior in online and mail-order retailing and about their consumption of digital services. In order to better assess developments in individual areas, the survey not only looked at various product groups, but also formed overarching clusters. If we exclude the cluster with goods for everyday use, the furnishings cluster comes first with growth of 23 percent, followed by the leisure cluster (17.6 %), clothing cluster (16.8 %) and the entertainment cluster (15 %).
And what does all this mean for print service providers? Yes, print products are not listed as a separate product group in the bevh annual report. But let’s be honest: that’s not really possible, after all, there are so many and such varying products that can be printed on that each of the clusters considered by the study is likely to contain a large number of them. Just think of the numerous posters, photo products, individualized T-shirts and hoodies, pillows, mugs or even beer stands. Print stores that sell their products via online stores should therefore be able to benefit just as much from the increasing acceptance of e-commerce.