Twitter reveals the results of its Global mCommerce 3.0 study. From January to August 2020, Twitter alone saw more than 1 billion Tweets from 37 million unique authors, around shopping globally.
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But what might this mean for consumers and brands in the coming months?
How have Shoppers Changed?
Against the backdrop of social distancing and lockdowns, shopping has inevitably evolved in 2020, flocking in their droves to online. The study, which surveyed more than 50,000 people on Twitter across 27 markets, showed that purchasing priorities shifted dramatically in 2020.
Big ticket items – such as holidays and cars – were put on hold, while categories such as fashion and accessories, takeaway delivery and beauty products saw a big up-tick in purchase intent. Meanwhile, moving into 2021, people expected to either maintain or increase their spending in household cleaning, health supplements and entertainment subscriptions.
However, perhaps more than the change in categories was the fact that consumers were expecting more from brands – in terms of both offering new or different products, as well as messaging. Even in regions with comparatively fewer restrictions, consumers around the world expected they would be spending more time on at-home activities.
What this means for brands
● An opportunity for local players
This could be a big moment for smaller, local challenger brands who have proximity on their side. The study found that 74% of people on Twitter were planning to purchase more from local brands in the future- rising to 83% amongst people on Twitter in Southeast Asia.
● The rise of shoppertainment
Live Streaming too became a key facet of the virtual retail arena in 2020, particularly in Southeast Asia and China, helping buyers connect with products and see them in (digital) action. For example, Shopee Live saw 120 million views in Indonesia in April this year – marking a new record for the brand.
Some brands went further by bringing in celebrities to add fervour and fanfare to their virtual events. @tokopedia, for example, indulged BTS fans across Indonesia by engaging the boy band in an exclusive concert and interviews as part of their #TokopediaWIB show.
On Twitter, there was a 75% YOY increase in live video minutes watched as of Sept 2020.
— Tokopedia (@tokopedia) July 29, 2020
● Accelerating A.I. adoption
Consumers settling into higher expectations of convenience, speed and choice will be a lasting effect of COVID. With shoppers staying within the confines of their homes, A.I. has been brought in to boost their experience – for example, in the form of chatbot services, analysing customer comments, product recommendations and providing personalised services to online shoppers. For example, foodpanda in Singapore has begun trialling drone deliveries amid the spike in demand for food delivery.
I just wrote this piece about how Covid-19 accelerates automation & AI. A robot delivered all my food during my quarantine! https://t.co/nH4v0l9VMz
— Kai-Fu Lee (@kaifulee) June 25, 2020
Social commerce and conversations
Commenting on the research, Martyn U’ren, Head of Marketing Insights & Analytics, APAC at Twitter said: “While these innovations are exciting, it does of course mean very little if your brand remains unknown. Especially when physical options are out, being part of the conversation that’s happening online enables brands to not only build and maintain their presence, but also build rapport with their audiences.”
Twitter is increasing in value as a place for people to review and discuss products – with 81% of people looking for opinions on products, services and brands on Twitter, and 71% of users sharing their own recommendations.
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In addition, over 41% of daily Twitter users are actively looking for updates from their favourite brands.