eCommerce growth in 2022

Trends and online sales growth in 2022: the data from “Osservatorio eCommerce B2C”

“Evolution of B2C eCommerce in Italy through data and trends”, the report processed by – Digital Innovation was presented during the most relevant exhibition for Italian eCommerce, Netcomm Forum 2022. From this year, Qapla’ is a proud partner of “Osservatorio eCommerce B2C”, taking part in the research and working groups of the institute.

Data about 2021 trends and 2022 forecast were released. In particular:

  • eCommerce growth in the world
  • how much online sales will grow in Italy in 2022
  • new trends for B2C online retail in 2022

eCommerce growth in the world

We all know that 2020 was an anomalous year all over the world due to the long-lasting closures of physical stores and the consequent shift of many users to online shopping. At the same time, there was a contraction in the retail sector almost everywhere, except in the United States (considering both online and offline transactions). Although still marked by restrictions, 2021 was an important year to confirm or not certain trends. The differences between the various countries are considerable.

In China online sales increase was stable: eCommerce orders had grown by 20% in 2020 compared to the previous year, in 2021 they increased by 19%. A similar trend occurred in France: +10% in 2020 and +9% in 2021.

Differently, the YoY growth rate almost halved in the United States (from +32% in 2020 to +18% in 2021), the United Kingdom (from + 45.5% to +21%) and Germany (from +16% to +8%).
The rise has definitely stopped in Spain after the boom of 2020: it has gone from +39% in 2020 to only +0.4% in 2021.

How much online sales will grow in Italy in 2022

Trend of eCommerce online purchase in Italy – source:

In Italy, the trend was the opposite of the countries mentioned above. If in 2020 the eCommerce turnover had increased by only 4% compared to 2020 (it’s the result of a -52% decrease in online services online sales), in 2021 that there was a significant acceleration: a total of +23% (+43% for services and +18% for products). For 2022 the study estimates an increase in total turnover of 14%, reaching € 45.9 billion. The online penetration of total retail consumption of products in Italy will gain one percentage point at the end of this year: 11% against 10% in 2021. A still so low figure shows all the potential that eCommerce has yet to express.

In Italy, the preference for mobile for online shopping remains stable: as in 2021, also in 2022 it is chosen in 55% of the times.

Which are the differences between eCommerce industries?

Food & Grocery is still driving growth: its turnover is expected to increase by 17% compared to 2021. Its rise certainly started during lockdown periods, when the online purchase of food and beverage became a habit. The sectors that first took advantage of online channels, such as Fashion or Tech, on the other hand, slowed their growth rate (respectively: +10% and +7% compared to 2021).

The forecasts for 2022 by, however, identify Electronics and Fashion as the sectors that generate the greater part of turnover in product eCommerce, with 24% and 17% of the total. These sectors are followed by Food & Grocery and Home Furniture with 14% and 12%.

New trends for B2C online retail in 2022

The boundaries between online and offline are becoming more and more invisible. The study by Osservatori – Digital Innovation confirms this trend. Large companies that have built their fortune on the web, such as Zalando or Amazon, consolidate their own physical network by opening new megastores, other ones, in Fast Fashion sector, are choosing pop-up stores (such as Shein and Yoox Net-A-Porter). On the other hand, retailers with a strong offline presence are enhancing the eCommerce channel: for example, in the US the furniture chain Homegoods has launched its B2C online store and in the UK the big supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has started a collaboration with Deliveroo. The stores themselves take on a new role in an omnichannel perspective: Zara – in its brick-and-mortar stores in the United Kingdom – is offering the click&collect service, that consists in collecting online orders made half an hour before; IKEA is experimenting the Planning Studios to provide one-to-one consultancy on interior design projects (a service that is difficult to provide online).

In 2021, dark stores also flourished (for example, Waitrose). They are stores converted into warehouses (not open to the public) full dedicated to the preparation of online orders.

Here are other trends identified by “Osservatorio eCommerce B2C“:

  • new consumption models: subscription purchases, second-hand goods, quick commerce (deliveries in less than an hour thanks to a capillary network of dark stores or warehouses with permanent stock availability)
  • new and evolving technologies: live stream shopping, social commerce, metaverse
  • attention to sustainability: consumers are increasingly demanding on this issue; in addition, listed companies will be required to submit a sustainability report, to show the results achieved in the area of ​​corporate responsibility
  • social changes with an impact on eCommerce: higher digitalization, remote working, transfers from cities to smaller centers

[cover photo from TechPrincess]