Rapid developments in technology combined with a global pandemic have led to some key changes in how we shop. Here are five modern spending habits which are a product of our time.
E-commerce has been on a steady incline since the early 90s, as access to computers and the internet gradually expanded. When the Covid-19 pandemic exploded in 2020 and lockdowns were enforced across the world, online shopping became a necessity rather than a luxury. Lockdowns may be long over, but our spending habits look to be permanently changed as we continue to shop extensively online.
In 2019 e-commerce accounted for 15% of total retail sales, and in 2022 it accounts for 22%. The e-commerce market is currently worth $3.3 trillion and looks set to reach over $5.4 trillion by 2026.
2. We Prefer Cashless Transactions
Digital technology has given us more ways to pay for our goods than ever before. The pandemic played a big role in increasing cashless transactions as we temporarily avoided handling cash to limit transmission of the virus. Now, we’re simply used to the convenience of contactless card payments and mobile payments. We don’t have to visit an ATM to withdraw money, there’s no need to carry cash or deal with bulky change, and we can avoid carrying a wallet when we can simply make payments via our phones.
3. We Use Social Media To Discover Products
Social media is the modern way to stay connected with friends and family, but it has revolutionized the way we spend. Social media influencers are capable of swaying their audiences’ purchasing decisions by recommending products and services. 56% of people purchase a product after seeing an influencer use it, and 36% say influencer posts are the best way to get them to try a new product. As a result, 74% of us turn to social media to make buying decisions and discover products.
4. We’re Less Likely To Be Loyal To Brands
Brand loyalty is on the decline as more consumers are prepared to shop around instead of sticking with their tried-and-tested products and services. The pandemic is somewhat to blame, as the move to online shopping led people to discover cheaper prices or alternative products compared to shopping in-store. New technology has also driven the drop in brand loyalty. Consumers have come to expect businesses to use the latest tech to make their shopping experience as convenient as possible. When businesses don’t keep up, the customer is prepared to jump ship to enjoy a better experience elsewhere.
5. We Make Purchasing With Social And Environmental Responsibility In Mind
As we all become more connected by modern technology, and with access to more information and news than ever before thanks to the internet, our awareness of social and environmental issues has evolved. Consumers are becoming increasingly considerate of factors like sustainability of materials and working conditions of laborers involved in the manufacture of products. Many choose to avoid businesses that appear unethical or uncaring of their social impact.
Many factors drive our spending habits, but it’s clear that our current shopping behaviors are greatly influenced by rapidly evolving technology combined with the shadow of a global pandemic.