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AI, E-Commerce, and Digital Wallets: Trends Shaping the Retail Industry in 2024

COMMERCEAI, E-Commerce, and Digital Wallets: Trends Shaping the Retail Industry in 2024

In the holiday season of 2023, the highest average discount rate was recorded since 2020. Another noticeable trend is the significant increase in purchases influenced by artificial intelligence – such are the conclusions based on the analysis of Salesforce data, gathered from the digital activity of over 1.5 billion shoppers. A noteworthy trend is also the significantly growing popularity of payment methods such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, in addition to the increasing share of sales on channels like TikTok and other social media platforms.

  • Global online sales reached $1.17 trillion during the holiday period (November and December), an increase of 3% from the previous year.
  • The year-on-year growth in the United States was modest (1%), and in Europe, it was 6%.
  • The average global discount rate throughout the holiday season was 21%, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • In November and December, artificial intelligence influenced over 17% of all holiday orders, accounting for $199 billion. During Cyber Week alone, online sales influenced by AI amounted to $51 billion.

Consumer purchasing behaviors and expectations during the holiday season, particularly the expectation of better prices and superior shopping experiences, give insights into what can be expected in the retail industry in 2024.

Trade at the Verge of Mass Implementation of Artificial Intelligence

Only 3% of trade organizations have no plans related to artificial intelligence, although its implementation is just beginning. Nearly one-third (29%) of teams have fully implemented AI into their workflows, and this group reports significant benefits for internal processes and productivity. In reality, trade specialists using artificial intelligence attribute an average time savings of 6.4 hours per week to this technology. Companies differ in their implementation of AI depending on the industry. The automotive industry leads the way, with the percentage of AI implementations reaching 42%. In contrast, the media and communication industry lags behind, with the implementation ratio reaching 23%.

Even if most trade organizations have not fully implemented artificial intelligence, most of them are ready to do so in the near future. As many as 48% of companies are experimenting with AI, and 20% are evaluating how it will fit into their operations.

E-Commerce Becoming More Widespread

Even before the rise of artificial intelligence, digital trade was doing quite well, and the number of sales channels was increasing. Transactions are no longer limited to a website or mobile app but are currently taking place in countless own and external channels. For example, a recent retail sector study showed that as many as 59% of shoppers made transactions through social media, a significant increase from 15% in 2021. During the holiday season in 2023, data from Salesforce showed that 10% of all traffic to digital storefronts came from social media.

Numerous multifunctional touchpoints with trade – known collectively as “integrated commerce” – are multiplying. A significant number of companies have implemented such capabilities in sales points, customer service, and social media. Customer service channels have become particularly important in this trade strategy. Nearly 29% of trade specialists argue that customer service generates a significant increase in revenue.

Digital Wallets Becoming an Increasingly Chosen Payment Method

In addition to increasing the number of places they shop, customers are also changing the way they pay for them. No payment method illustrates these changes as well as digital wallets – their broad category includes, among others, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay. Digital wallets remained popular throughout the holiday season, and their use increased by 54% in November and December compared to the same period last year.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud data shows a rapid increase in the number of transactions made through digital wallets, which continues over subsequent quarters, while other types of payments, including PayPal, “Buy Now Pay Later” services, and bank transfers, are recording declines. Contrary to the increase in digital wallets, the popularity of cryptocurrencies is falling.

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