Die Zukunft des Handels

The future of commerce

How the pandemic acts as an e-commerce turbo worldwide and how you can remain sustainably successful as a retailer!




Shopify President Harley Finkelstein is convinced "that we are on the cusp of a new age of commerce." With its recent research on the future of commerce, Shopify has provided this perception with a broad base of data that reveals important insights for retailers worldwide. Harley is absolutely right in seeing independent stores as the focus of the next generation of consumers who will change retail forever. We have prepared the most important results, trends and figures of the mammoth study for you!

The most important forecasts of the study in an overview:

  1. Young consumers are changing retail, and e-commerce continues to increase in importance.
  2. Stationary retail will change in the same move - with benefits for local businesses.
  3. Consumers store at independent brands. Companies must and will adapt to make this possible.
  4. More and more consumers will make purchasing decisions based on their wallets.

The global pandemic is not only having a huge economic impact and forcing many companies to adopt new strategies. Consumers have also changed their behavior. More and more people are buying online, and younger generations in particular will continue to drive this process.

Young consumers are changing retail, and e-commerce continues to gain in importance.

Of the consumers surveyed, 79% said they intended to buy something online in the next six months. At 57%, the purchase intention in stationary retail is significantly lower. It is also striking that 38% of stationary retail customers said they now shop here less frequently than at the beginning of 2020. Online shopping has long been the norm, particularly among young shoppers under 35. Around 67% said they bought more online than before the pandemic.

Which advantages can arise for stationary trade?

Local retailers offer their customers many advantages over large online marketplaces in particular - and consumers appreciate that. For example, the analysis of the German Shopify data confirms, as does the survey of German consumers, that more than half "shop locally to support the economy". In addition, local retailers can gain ground through innovative delivery and sales concepts. This is because consumers are increasingly turning to local pickup options in addition to delivery. Shopify already offers contactless pickup for online stores. In this way, stationary companies can create a perfect symbiosis of online store and local location, position their own business much more broadly, and continue to fully serve the needs of their customers in the future.

Independent brands are the focus.

Our biggest concern as a Shopify Plus partner has always been brands instead of marketplaces. It's true that the big platforms like Amazon still often have the edge when it comes to purchasing behavior due to their pricing policies and delivery options. But more and more consumers want to support smaller, independent brands. So it's important for entrepreneurs to focus even more on USPs in their external presentation and to accommodate customers with new functions and technologies. Shopify already offers a variety of options here, which will have to be expanded more and more in the future. This is because many factors are important to German customers, such as support for entrepreneurship (47%), good customer support (36%), and a personal shopping experience (36%), which Amazon simply cannot provide.

Fast 50% aller Verbraucher fühlen sich beim persönlichen Einkauf unwohl und setzen vermehrt auf den Online-Handel.

Nearly 50% of all consumers feel uncomfortable shopping in person and are increasingly turning to online retail.

In addition to conscience, the wallet also plays a decisive role.

Aspects such as sustainability and fair trade are clearly on the rise. We have already been able to show this on the basis of support intentions for independent brands. But up to the point of the purchase decision, concrete budget planning also comes into play as an important factor alongside moral desires. Younger shoppers again provide a clear indication of where the journey is headed. Are they much more likely to be enthusiastic about brands that give something back to society or offer "green products"? Almost 60% of those under 35 prefer such products, and the proportion decreases consistently with increasing age. The figures are very similar when it comes to the possibility of generating a donation for a specific cause when making a purchase. You can find the entire study by Shopify here.

Let's shape the future together!

The year 2020 has brought surprising developments for all of us. But in the area of e-commerce in particular, much of it is not all that unexpected on closer inspection. Only the speed at which the world of commerce is changing has increased dramatically. So has the number of Shopify merchants and, of course, the revenue generated through Shopify stores. At the same time, shoppers as well as merchants have changed their behaviors to remain economically competitive. It is precisely such entrepreneurs and brands that we need as drivers of the economy - globally as well as at the local level. Because we assume that the importance of e-commerce will continue to grow in 2021, whether as a pure player or as a new option in a multichannel strategy. If you want to be a part of this, we are happy to be the Shopify partner at your side.

 About the Author:

Sarah - Shopify Expert & Branding Specialist



  Shopify Expert & Branding Specialist