Consumers have spent almost as much in-store as they do online in 2023, according to the Connected Shoppers Report, 5th Edition by Salesforce.
To date, surveyed consumers reported making 49% of their purchases online rather than in a store, a number that Salesforce indicates could rise to 56% over the next two years. In 2023, digital transactions were split fairly evenly between platforms: 12% were made through brand websites and apps, 15% through retailer websites and apps, 14% through online marketplaces such as Amazon and 10% through delivery apps and new digital channels.
The uptick in digital purchases has also changed the way buyers interact with online retailers. Salesforce notes that the number of consumers who purchased a product through social media grew from 15% in 2021 to 59% in 2023. Transactions through messaging apps, such as Facebook’s Messenger, likewise increased 25% during the same period. These two data points indicate that buyers are interacting with brands off their websites and outside of stores in greater numbers than ever before, signaling the need for companies to ramp up marketing efforts on third-party platforms.
The technology used to engage with customers online and in-store is also changing. Salesforce notes that 60% of surveyed customers now say they use mobile devices for shopping at retail locations, mainly for researching a potential purchase before checking out but also for scanning QR codes and even buying through the brand’s app rather than visiting cashiers. The rise of generative artificial intelligence platforms has also created new applications for consumers that could be leveraged by companies to attract buyers to their storefronts. About 17% of buyers told Salesforce that they had used an AI-powered tool for wardrobe, meal and beauty inspiration, along with research for consumer electronics in 2023.
While many retailers are playing catchup when it comes to online shopping and consumer-focused technology, such advancements are becoming less of an optional benefit and more of a necessity as time goes on. Adopting tools that make digital purchases easier can help brands from losing customers to more forward-thinking competitors as buyers turn to digital transaction platforms in greater numbers. To read the Salesforce report in full, click here.