Today, it’s impossible to imagine doing business without the Internet. According to the latest report on 2019’s Internet trends by venture capitalist Mary Meeker, the number of Internet users reached 3.8 billion, which is more than half of the world’s population. The report revealed some interesting data – while eCommerce is still on the rise when compared to physical retail, its growth rate in mature markets is slowing. Despite the growth of digital advertising and the evolution and innovation of communication tools, there are areas where customer acquisition cost can be inconsistently high.
Let’s find out what the hottest online business trends of 2019 are and how your business can ride the wave to a new level.
eCommerce trends 2019
eCommerce trends show solid growth, but the rate is slowing – 12.4 percent in Q1 as compared to 12.1 percent in Q4 in the US. According to Mary Meeker’s report, eCommerce is now 15 percent of retail sales, only growing by 2 percent in Q1.
The product improvements are driven by global innovation and competition; and both mature and traditionally underserved markets see new types of usage and services monetization in such areas as digital video, voice, wearables, on-demand and local services. Mary Meeker observes massive global usage changes related to the evolution of images & interactive gaming due to the growth of communications tools and the emergence of freemium businesses.
Despite the first ever annual decline of the smartphone market in 2018, the forecasted growth of emerging markets by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for 2019 is faster (4.7 per cent) than the growth of developed markets (2.1 per cent), which allows suggestions that mobile penetration and thus the penetration of mobile eCommerce in emerging markets will grow. The recently released Mobile Economy Report for 2018 by GSMA projects that smartphones will account for 77 percent of mobile connections by 2025, i.e. the number of mobile internet users will increase by 1.75 billion in the same period. These numbers look quite promising for telecommunications and fintech providers, who gain the possibility to take on new and emerging markets and make use of the latest mobile trends.
The most active newcomers to the smartphone and mobile commerce markets in emerging economies are younger people with higher levels of education and higher incomes, which makes them prospective buyers of educational apps, for example, and active users of various social media networks as well as various eCommerce platforms.
Many analysts suggest that the fintech sector will grow the most over the coming years. One forecast says that the compound annual growth rate of the fintech sector is to reach 74.16 percent from 2019 through 2025. The most impacted industries will be banking and insurance.
The insurance industry, which is supposed to be the slowest to disrupt, is projected to see groundbreaking changes – the insuretech market will become mainstream. All types of commercial insurance are going to be sold online more than ever before.
Cyber insurance is forecasted to become especially popular as hackers become more sophisticated and data privacy is strictly regulated by law in almost every country around the globe. Let us remember the first serious GDPR breaches, which already emptied the pockets of the companies reporting such breaches. For example, in the UK, the ICO announced it intended to fine British Airways £183 million over the data breach that compromised the personal information of approximately 500,000 customers.
Another fintech sector – online lending – is a mature one, but it is expected to continue its growth. Vince Passione, chief executive and founder of LendKey, the lending platform that surpassed the $1 billion mark, says “online lending is no longer ‘alternative’ — it’s simply what borrowers have come to expect at any stage of their credit journey — access, speed, and transparency.” He predicts the creation of fintech white-label lending platforms and software as a service enabling an alternative revenue stream for banks and credit unions.
Other B2B eCommerce trends include individualization and increased productivity and efficiency. Much of modern B2Bbuyers (82 per cent, to be exact) want their business purchase experience to be similar to their personal shopping. Having all their business in a smartphone, today’s business buyers are more accustomed to continuous innovation and less loyal to the brand than to the positive experience of business relations. Today’s business customers are used to sharing their experiences with others – both good ones and bad ones.
It was found out that two-thirds of customers are ready to pay a premium to companies that offer superior experiences – one of the emerging trends in e-business is mirroring B2C standards for B2B – including:
- More personalized engagements and user-generated content (product reviews and photos, etc.)
- Amazon-like buying experience
- More trust for the service/product provider based on contextualized customer experience
- Seamless service after buying using various digital channels such as:
- Mobile apps
- Online portals
- Online chats and live support
- Social media
- Voice activated personal assistants
- And more
Innovation is also a key driver of digital advertising trends as customers get more and more accustomed to digital advertising channels providing cutting-edge experiences of product and service advertising.
Online advertising trends
The 2019 Internet trends report by Mary Meeker showed accelerated Internet ad spending in the US – in 2018 such spending increased by 22 percent. The leaders in this sector are still Google and Facebook, but companies like Amazon and Twitter are gaining a growing share. The lion’s share of all digital display ad buying (about 62 percent) corresponds to programmatic ads, and it is projected that this share will continue to grow.
Customer acquisition cost in some industries may be rising to unsustainable levels. For example, here is customer acquisition cost by industry within Google Paid Search Campaigns in 2018:
- Auto: $33.52
- B2B: $116.13
- Consumer Services: $90.70
- Dating & Personals: $76.76
- eCommerce: $45.27
- Education: $72.70
- Finance & Insurance: $81.93
- Health & Medical: $78.09
- Technology: $133.52
The goal of today’s advertising is to be effective and competitive, and to be supported by effective marketing to create positive customer experiences.
Among the most notable Internet advertising trends are:
- Database marketing
- Advanced targeted marketing
- Social advertising
- Sponsored content
- Lead generation
- Ad sharing
Database marketing is about collecting customer data to create the most effective communication with them. The more information a company has about its potential customers, the better the marketing campaigns and the higher the involvement, activity and conversion rate.
Advanced targeted marketing is a follow-up of database marketing. Big data growth allows more specific insights about your target audience. Various online advertising tools like Google AdWords, Bing Advertising, LinkedIn Ads and so on, can help you display your message to the audience you defined as the most promising. Search engine advertising is still one of the best ways to present your paid ads.
Social advertising is closely connected to social media, which is extremely popular today. As of July 2019 the number of active Facebook users amounted to 23,752,375 million, Youtube users amounted to 2,000 million, WhatsApp to 1,600 million, and Instagram to 1,000 million. These platforms allow reaching a larger audience through paid advertisements while social media users see it as just entertaining themselves. Here’s a small fact – Facebook already accounts for 23 percent of total U.S. digital ad spending. Branded hashtags, Twitter chats, various groups created around core audience interests, live sessions, creating product-specific stories – all these help you reach your audience and make them want to share your ads. Mary Meeker says platforms that gain ad share are doing so with better targeting, new creative commerce and high relevance.
Sponsored content gains popularity due to the rise of ad blockers. Promoted posts, advertorials and infeed advertising are integrated in the style of unpaid content and perceived as less annoying than obvious advertising.
Lead generation is an important marker of your marketing campaign success. Various tools like pop-up messages enticing readers to sign up for a newsletter, requesting a quote boxes, ‘call buttons’, and filling in email addresses all help you get in touch with a customer. But generating leads must be followed with seamless lead management to convert leads into customers.
And what about mobile trends in 2019? Is there anything groundbreaking?
Mobile app trends
Mobile apps have become an integral part of our lives. Because of their usefulness and popularity, they are a good opportunity for businesses to attract more customers and earn more money. According to Statista, by the year 2020, mobile apps are expected to generate $188.9 billion as global revenue
On-demand development apps can be called the most successful business model of our time. Such applications can be found in almost any industry, and 42 percent of the US adult population have used at least one on-demand service.
Machine learning and AI are not new trends in the mobile app market, yet the demand for AI and machine learning based virtual assistants and chatbots is on the rise. Siri and Alexa are bright examples of this technology application in mobile apps and there’s still room to develop similar products in this market.
Wearable technology is the first in line in fitness trends in 2019 and the Internet of Things (IoT), and smart things is still considered to be the game-changing technology in the world of mobile apps. Self-driving cars, smart homes and areas are the most well-known examples of this technology. Digital health is another area that can get a bigger share in the wearable market.
Digital health apps are another trend resulting from digital health innovation demanded by healthcare systems and patients around the world. There’s a wide variety of mhealth apps in the market, but the demand for them is still rising. Now people want more sophisticated apps designed for specific conditions, or illnesses, for example.
Data privacy trends
Rapidly expanding connectivity has brought new focus to the greatest challenge for regulators around the world – the data privacy problem. The more sophisticated Internet systems become, and the more data there is on the Internet, the bigger the opportunity for cyber attacks. Cybersecurity is a keystone of any eCommerce business.
2018 was a landmark year following the introduction of GDPR. Businesses ventured into the unknown field of personal data protection, which made them review and rethink their data privacy policies. According to a recent poll, conducted by Commvault at the first Data Protection World Forum in London, “80 percent of IT and data experts polled at the forum were less than fully confident in their business’ current level of compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR, yet 37 percent still thought more regulation was required”.
What are the trends that can shape the future of data privacy in the Internet?
More active consumers
Consumer awareness of their rights for data privacy can trigger more strict compliance to GDPR regulations and similar regulations like California Consumer Privacy Act, Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), etc. Consumers can become more active in tracking down their data storage and management and the companies try harder to gain more of their customers’ trust. Consumers have the power to shape how regulators enforce sanctions for GDPR non-compliance, so the people whose privacy was invaded will be able to inform ICO and other controlling agencies about the breaches.
Patchy coordination between regulators around the globe
Though GDPR trends are to be introduced all around the world, there is still no international standard for data privacy. International companies must comply with GDPR when dealing with personal data of EU citizens but in reality they approach data privacy in their business practices differently. Despite the fines, like €50m (US$57m) fine levied on Google, international companies still have a long road ahead to form effective and efficient data protection policies compliant with the data protection laws in force in the EU, US, and other countries.
Blockchain can suffer “privacy poisoning” too
According to Gartner, by 2022, 75% of public blockchains will suffer “privacy poisoning” — inserted personal data that renders the blockchain noncompliant with privacy laws. The keystone of any blockchain is unchanged data structure, where the recorded data cannot be easily changed or deleted. But here we see the obvious collision with the “right to be forgotten”. That is, organizations that implement blockchain systems without managing privacy issues by design will run the risk of storing personal data that can’t be deleted without compromising chain integrity.
Internet and eCommerce provide numerous opportunities to those who want to make money and create new, attractive products. You just have to choose who you want to attract and what problem you want to solve, and then we’ll help you create a plan and realize your project. Contact our team, and we’ll find your way to success.