Planning for Peak Season 2022: E-Commerce Shopping Trends in the United States

Aug 16, 2022
  • “Auto Parts” and “Food & Beverage” are two of the fastest growing e-commerce product categories in the United States (US).

  • We saw continued growth in the usage of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services among the US shoppers.

  • An increasing number of US consumers are utilizing social media for inspiration when buying holiday gifts.

The holiday season is the time of year when businesses see the biggest boost in sales. If you are a business owner, it is crucial to make sure your e-commerce strategy is in top shape ahead of the peak season. In this article, we will take a look at some of the latest shopping trends in the United States (US) and offer some tips on how you can capitalize on them to make the most of this crucial period for your business.

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Auto Parts and Food & Beverage Are Among the Fastest Growing E-Commerce Product Categories in the US

Planning for Peak Season 2022: E-Commerce Shopping Trends in the United States - Product Category

When it comes to e-commerce, there are a few product categories that are growing faster than the rest. In the United States, automobile and auto parts topped the list with the highest expected year-over-year growth between 2021 and 2022. As of February 2022, “automobile and auto parts” category was predicted to increase over 30% compared to the year before. Meanwhile, “food & beverage” and “cosmetics & beauty” categories were close behind with year-on-year growth of 20.7% and 19.6%, respectively.

A Rise in Demand for Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Solutions Among US Shoppers

Planning for Peak Season 2022: E-Commerce Shopping Trends in the United States - BNPL

In 2021, we saw continued growth in the popularity of mobile payments and e-wallets among US shoppers, especially those in the younger age groups. In fact, 60% of US consumers named one of the digital wallets as their preferred payment method for online shopping, with the most popular ones being PayPal and Venmo. Additionally, the pandemic also saw a surge in demand for Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)services among US consumers as they looked for alternative ways to pay without incurring credit card debt. As its name suggests, BNPL solutions are often referred to as “point-of-sale installment loans” that allow customers to pay for purchases over time, often with zero or minimal interest. 

As of February last year, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the US had used BNPL at checkout. To be more specific, about 10% use the service regularly, 11% have used it before but not regularly, while another 7% have not used it before but are very interested to do so in the near future. In line with this, RetailX foresees the usage of such borrowing schemes to increase by a whopping 1200% between 2019 (when the use of BNPL schemes was relatively new) and 2024.

Apart from the convenience and flexibility that it brings to consumers, BNPL can bring about a higher sales value, attract new customers (who were previously hesitant to make purchases due to their budget constraints)and enhance customer loyalty. British fitness apparel brand Gymshark, for instance, has observed an increase of 33% in the value of sales following the addition of a BNPL feature. Similarly, another BNPL provider QuadPay also reported that its product has led to increased conversions by 20% and average checkouts by 60% among its merchants. Considering the many benefits of BNPL, it is hard to argue against retailers integrating them ahead of the upcoming peak season.

More US Consumers Are Looking to Social Media for Holiday Shopping Inspiration

Planning for Peak Season 2022: E-Commerce Shopping Trends in the United States - Social media inspiration

According to a study by Statista, an increasing number of US consumers are looking to social media for holiday shopping inspiration. In fact, around 70% of shoppers said they have consulted at least one social network when making their purchase decisions during peak season 2021.

While social media advertising has the power to influence consumer shopping behavior regardless of their age, the surge in purchases on these platforms has been primarily driven by younger generations, namely Gen Z (age 18 to 25) and millennials (age 26 to 40). As a matter of fact, more than 80% of these two groups admitted to using social media for inspiration when buying holiday gifts last year, whereas only 63% of the Gen X and 40% of the Boomer+ said the same.

This is great news for brands and retailers that are active on social media. It means that there is a good chance you will be able to reach more shoppers this holiday season. As long as you can provide them with the right kind of content – content that inspires, educates, and entertains – you will be well on your way to boosting your sales.

Preparing for Peak Season 2022

From the ongoing health and safety concerns and rising inflation to other relevant issues such as port congestion in China, it is hard to foresee what the future holds for e-commerce – not just in the US, but also in other parts of the world. As we move closer to the peak shopping season, it has become vital for retailers to stay on top of the latest e-commerce trends and prepare early for success, especially with all the challenges facing the global supply chain in the past year.

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