It is no secret that 2020 was an incredibly profitable year for Amazon. While the pandemic hit traditional brick and mortar stores hard, it helped propel eCommerce and Amazon sales. In fact, the pandemic actually gave Amazon more market share and sales volume than even Jeff Bezos could dream of! With so much of the population in the United States and all around the world experiencing mass lockdowns, we’ve seen a rise in remote working. Plus the pandemic has kickstarted an online shopping surge and consumer trends are shifting from traditional shopping experiences to contactless delivery options like Amazon.
Amazon Delivered Record Performance in 2020
According to Forbes, Amazon delivered a record performance in 2020 with its annual revenue up 38% to $386 billion, a yearly increase of over $100 billion. Additionally, Amazon’s net profit was up 84% for the year compared to 2019.
Massive sales growth has been seen across nearly all verticals, but particularly in the food, home, beauty, and electronics sectors, for obvious reasons. As the world continues to embrace digital technology, it is estimated that more than 2 billion people are now shopping online. With this trend continuing to skyrocket, retail eCommerce sales are predicted to grow by 20.2 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) in certain countries between 2020 and 2024.
So what will 2021 bring for Amazon? Well, with Amazon’s core customer base stronger than ever, they are continuing to explore new ways of doing business, which is keeping Amazon at the head of the eCommerce pack – in spite of the economic struggle that traditional retailers are experiencing. We have been keeping an eye on the trends, and here are a few of our predictions for what 2021 will hold for you, as an Amazon seller.
Amazon Consumer Trend #1
Amazon’s Customer Base will Continue to Boom Due to COVID-19
As we witnessed in 2020 in the first throes of the pandemic, Amazon’s sales (and online sales in general) skyrocketed due to the restrictions put in place for brick-and-mortar stores in order to deal with COVID-19. We predict that this trend will continue to move upward, and as a result, Amazon Prime memberships will likely increase as COVID-19 continues to shape our daily lives.
Prior to COVID-19, only 12% of retail sales occurred online, so anti eCommerce. It is reported that around 70% of U.S. consumers shopped on Amazon in Q3, and 48% of Amazon customers have said that they would be fine if they never shopped in a brick-and-mortar store again.
Amazon Consumer Trend #2
Word-of-Mouth Referrals and Social Proof May Eclipse Brand Preference
As more and more shoppers delve into product reviews instead of blindly following a brand’s advertising, social proof is beginning to take precedence when it comes to shopping online. It is no secret that products with multiple 4 or 5 star reviews are more attractive to consumers than specific brands. Buyers are looking for authenticity, transparency, and integrity when it comes to a brand. This means that there is a huge opportunity for smaller brands to emerge on Amazon and challenge the competition by offering exceptional products and a strong brand message.
Amazon Consumer Trend #3
The Social Nature of Amazon May Begin to Expand Through Amazon Posts
Social media and social networking are here to stay for good, it seems, and Amazon has rolled out its own version via Amazon’s Posts, which aims to “social media-fy” product offerings. Amazon’s Posts allows brands to present carefully curated product feeds to draw the eyes of style savvy shoppers, with the ultimate goal of capturing sales from scrolls, much like Instagram and Facebook. We predict that Posts will grow to other marketplaces outside of the U.S. and will churn out likes, reactions, and comments to further cement the importance of Amazon’s social proof.
Amazon Consumer Trend #4
Amazon Will Freshen Up Their Grocery Selection
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that the demand for essential products and convenience was a main priority for many of us around the world. We predict that Amazon will continue to expand its grocery options to keep up with Walmart+ and Walmart’s brick-and-mortar stores.
In order to remain competitive in this increasingly saturated delivery market, Amazon will need to revamp its Amazon Fresh delivery program and open up more Amazon Go concepts. Currently, Amazon only has Amazon Fresh locations in Seattle, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.
Amazon Consumer Trend #5
Walmart Will Be Amazon’s Main Rival in the eCommerce Sector
While Amazon still dominates the eCommerce market in terms of delivery services, Walmart+ has pressed Amazon to innovate by providing unique perks to their customers. As of January 2021, 142.5 million U.S. consumers are Amazon Prime members, but if the 2020 holiday season is any indicator, the competition between the two retail giants is heating up. While Amazon reported its most lucrative holiday season yet, Walmart.com sales increased 124% in Q4 of 2020.
Amazon Consumer Trend #6
More Customers Will Incorporate Amazon Tech Into Their Everyday Lives
With convenience and on-demand services becoming the norm, in 2021 we predict that consumers will likely become more comfortable with taking advantage of Amazon’s convenient technologies for daily tasks. This includes things like adding items to their shopping cart with Alexa.
We also predict that consumers will continue to become more tech savvy, and will opt for using smart accessories like Alexa glasses or Amazon’s new health and wellness tracker, Halo.
In Q4 of 2020, Amazon also launched its 'Experiences' platform, with many virtual classes and sightseeing tours offered as personal live streaming sessions. With this new platform, Amazon features products like baking ingredients for a culinary class as in-session shopping opportunities.
Amazon may also take advantage of the burgeoning virtual experience trend to promote the numerous AI-driven try-on technologies that it has pioneered. In the past few months, Amazon has acquired many platforms that may be used to create virtual beauty counters, fashion dressing rooms, and virtual layouts of home furnishings for a more personal shopping experience. Virtual showrooms and augmented reality for online shopping in general will also become increasingly popular, especially as the technology becomes more and more accessible to the masses.
Amazon Consumer Trend #7
Competition Will Continue to Heat Up
One of the major news stories from 2020 was how Thrasio and other large companies are executing rollups of eCommerce brands on a mass scale. As small businesses achieve success on Amazon, these large companies are buying out their competitors in large volumes in an effort to dominate the market. While there are many vocal critics of this business model, the fact is that this activity is increasing the overall savviness on the marketplace. In combination with the long-term trend of manufacturers in China selling directly on Amazon and cutting out the middleman, we predict that the competition on Amazon will continue to increase dramatically in 2021.
Amazon is it for the long haul. They are proactive adjusting and adapting to hold their spot as the number one eCommerce marketplace. If you are looking for help navigating the eCommerce giant, let’s chat. Our team of Amazon consultants has a vast portfolio of experience in helping businesses list, optimize, advertise and more on Amazon.