FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, has released a white paper, “E-commerce Megatrends to Watch,” that examines some of the biggest global e-commerce megatrends.
The paper highlights the seven most significant digitally relevant megatrends occurring in China – the world’s biggest e-commerce market – and how these are set to have a profound impact on e-commerce trend development across the Asia Pacific region and beyond.
COVID-19 has been a catalyst for e-commerce growth worldwide. While businesses of all sizes want to capitalize on it, leaders in this space are reimagining new frontiers for e-commerce. This white paper examines the drivers behind the current shift in consumer behaviors and attitudes and reveals the trends that businesses should consider while mapping out their long-term e-commerce strategies.
“Our research shows that the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region will be at the forefront of e-commerce growth for many years to come. With rising disposable incomes, growing internet penetration, and emerging cross-border e-commerce markets, there is a huge amount of growth yet to be realized here,” said Kawal Preet, president of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region at FedEx Express.
“Logistics is the backbone of the e-commerce ecosystem. The simplicity of click to buy must be matched by the speed and convenience of delivery. We continue to build robust networks that offer smart supply chain solutions as well as highly personalized delivery services to help businesses unlock new opportunities as the frontiers of e-commerce advance.”
“Just like consumers aspire to live their best lives through connected, immersive, sharable and engaging digital services, businesses are seeking to stay at least a step ahead of meeting those expectations. Logistics now sits at the intersection of this physical and digital world. This means we have a vital role to play in shaping the future of e-commerce, creating more cross-border options for consumers and SME businesses alike,” Preet concluded.
E-commerce is expected to grow at an average of 47% in the next five years globally. The Asian market leads the field at 51%, followed by Europe (42%) and North America (35%). In the Middle East and Africa, the combined e-commerce market value is expected to reach to $73 billion by 2025.
However, growth in China, in particular, has eclipsed the rest of Asia, with e-commerce sales in 2020 that reached $1.3 trillion with a projected increase to nearly $2 trillion by 2025.
The promising outlook also creates vast opportunities for logistics companies to grow. The global E-Commerce Logistics market is projected to register the highest gains of approximately 6.6% year-on-year during 2021-2028, reaching $118,847 million by 2028.
Some of the greatest opportunities emerging from this white paper are in the following areas:
1. Customer Experience Redefined
The white paper reveals several megatrends around the confluence of smart cities and homes, connected consumers, experiential marketing, and reinventing shopping experience, making shopping no longer siloed as the blurring of lines between online and offline continue.
In markets like China, North America, and Europe where robust digital infrastructures and technology solutions are in an advanced stage, consumers look for elevated retail experiences through tech-rich offerings like the Cloud Shelf and Augmented Reality (AR) mirrors in an offline store, or a virtual reality (VR) hotel tour, or livestreaming purchasing experience on mobile.
With 5G rapidly becoming a reality, businesses can harness the power of new technologies such as Near Field Communications, Artificial Intelligence, bots to provide highly digitalized and personalized services, bringing enhanced, connected customer experiences beyond retail.
In line with these evolving trends, the logistic industry is also working to provide customers with advanced analytics. For example, FedEx Surround collects and combines relevant data about packages — and the world they travel through — to provide businesses more visibility, predictive advisories, and opportunities for proactive interventions.
2. Reaching the Unreached
Another megatrend gaining ground is around Shifting market frontiers. As some areas of the globe become over-farmed, over-populated, or otherwise reach their maximum potential, opportunities in tier-2 cities and rural areas emerge for brands to explore.
Conventional retailers and mom-and-pop stores are now connecting with customers via business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platforms and selling products online both domestically and internationally.
Benefiting from advanced digital and transportation infrastructure, together with the rising middle classes in tier-2 cities, China, APAC and the Middle East are spearheading a revival in conventional retail and mom-and-pop stores through digital commerce. Competition in these untapped landscapes is likely to intensify in the years to come.
Cross-border logistics, broader network coverage, and ease of connectivity will support the increasing penetration of e-commerce players, and winners will be those who move first and build a deep rooted, broad reach across customers.
3. Cashing On Convenience
Sharing economy and buying time are two others megatrends being witnessed, as rising urbanization, advanced digital infrastructure, and consumers’ changing attitude towards ‘ownership’ continues to drive the growth of shared economy, something that is set to become a $335 billion segment globally by 2025.
North America and Europe are currently in the lead. However, in China, more than half of the population is estimated to participate in it.
Convenience is the underlining factor encouraging brands to cross-collaborate and innovate to meet consumers’ needs. From car-sharing and apartment renting to group-buying, consumers’ demand for shared services is fostering groundbreaking innovations. Among these, e-commerce has become a critical time-saver for consumers, providing fulfillment with just a click.
At the same time, with consumers’ rising disposable incomes, demand for an on-demand serviced life is set to soar. Globally, 48% of consumers are willing to spend money to save time. Businesses in North America and Europe are at the forefront of redefining the future of this on-demand serviced economy as many see enormous potentials to grow revenue through doorstep delivery.
Cross-border e-commerce solutions like FedEx® International Connect Plus (FICP), which provides value for money and competitive speed, and delivery customization solutions like FedEx® Delivery Manager International allows e-tailers to offer their customers the personalized service, and freedom to manage and control their shipping preferences.
“We’re living in exciting times where the latest technologies are shaping human behavior, ushering in the next wave of the e-commerce revolution. Through enhanced connectivity, on-demand services, and shared economy, a new era of e-commerce is here – opening up new possibilities for even the smallest businesses to compete on the global stage,” said Salil Chari, senior vice president of Marketing & Customer Experience, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (AMEA) at FedEx Express.
“However, in order to win, businesses must continue to rethink and reinvent how and where they are engaging with consumers. This white paper is important as it signals where these opportunities lie.”
The future is of e-commerce is here. For logistics players, these megatrends provide a clear roadmap on where the industry is headed – and having a digital-first, innovation-led e-commerce ecosystem, which reduces delivery challenges and optimizes operational efficiency, is a must.
Already, FedEx has made several strides, forming strategic collaborations with leading e-commerce players and technology companies to modernize its supply chain. But with new technologies like big data, robotics, and AI, more breakthroughs are on the horizon.