Top 8 E-Commerce Trends of 2024 that Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

Is your e-commerce playbook up-to-date? Read on to master the art of selling online in 2024!

Just a decade or two ago, the idea of purchasing groceries or a new wardrobe with a few clicks seemed novel. Now, it’s the norm. Many businesses nowadays even solely operate online without any physical presence. According to Statista, the revenue in the business-to-customer (B2C) e-commerce market is projected to reach US$4.17 trillion in 2024, with the average revenue per user (ARPU) expected to amount to US$1,643.

As global internet access continues to spread, the e-commerce market will not only expand but become more competitive. To stand out, staying informed about the latest e-commerce trends is crucial. In this article, we explore the top eight e-commerce trends that are redefining online shopping by blending convenience with innovation.

1. Advanced AI chatbots for e-commerce 

E-commerce is embracing advanced AI-powered chatbots capable of processing natural language, handling complex inquiries and providing personalized assistance. When integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) and inventory systems, these smart chatbots can facilitate a seamless shopping experience. They not only recommend products based on customer preferences but also manage the entire order lifecycle, including tracking and returns. 

2. Social commerce

Social commerce, the fusion of social media and online shopping, is reshaping our online shopping habits. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest have evolved beyond mere advertising spaces into direct sales channels. Here, users can effortlessly purchase products without ever leaving the app. 

According to a 2023 Deloitte report, 64% of digital shoppers discover new brands and products through social media. Moreover, one in three consumers enjoys discovering items that are trending within their social circles. Influencers, too, wield considerable influence, with 67% of social media users likely to consider a brand or product promoted by a favorite influencer.

Given these figures, it’s no surprise that the social commerce sector is poised for explosive growth. Predictions estimate the market will reach around US$2 trillion by 2025, representing approximately 28% of all online retail sales, or 13% when excluding China. 

3. Sustainable shopping 

Today, consumers are increasingly aligning their spending with their values, favoring brands that embrace environmentally and socially responsible practices—even at a premium price. These practices can include reducing plastic packaging, minimizing shipping emissions, offsetting carbon footprint, conducting regular sustainability audits, etc. 

According to Skyquest’s recent research, the market is projected to soar beyond US$40.75 billion by 2030, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.38% from 2023. This growth is not just a win for the planet—it’s also a strategic move for businesses. Integrating sustainability practices offers a compelling avenue for e-commerce brands to enhance growth and build customer loyalty in a marketplace that is increasingly conscious of environmental and social issues.

4. Shift to thrift

Economic pressures such as inflation and rising living costs are driving consumers towards second-hand and vintage goods, which are not only more affordable but also sustainable. As a result, the recommerce market, which involves the buying and selling of pre-owned goods, is booming. Platforms like ThredUp and Poshmark are at the forefront of this movement.

With the recommerce sector expanding 11 times faster than traditional retail, it’s projected to reach an impressive US$84 billion by 2030. This shift highlights a significant change in consumer behavior, where value, sustainability and economic necessity converge, reshaping the retail landscape.

5. Livestream shopping

Livestream shopping, where viewers can directly engage with hosts who showcase and sell products in real-time, is gaining traction. Originating from Alibaba in 2016, this trend has witnessed staggering growth, especially in China, where livestream e-commerce has been generating astounding revenue. Further emphasizing its impact, a 2021 McKinsey study reported that two-thirds of Chinese consumers had made purchases via livestream in the preceding year. 

Seeing this success, U.S. platforms including Amazon, TikTok, YouTube, Shopify and Walmart have quickly adopted livestream shopping. Recent data from Coresight Research in 2023 projects that by 2026, livestream shopping events in the U.S. could generate sales of up to US$68 billion. This burgeoning trend highlights the potential of a more engaging and interactive shopping experience, moving far beyond traditional, static online browsing.

6. The rise of mobile commerce

Mobile commerce is rapidly outpacing traditional desktop shopping. Pew Research Center’s 2022 data reveals that 76% of U.S. adults prefer using their smartphones for purchases, compared to 69% who favor desktops or laptops. This shift is fueled by technological enhancements like fingerprint and facial recognition, along with one-tap payment solutions. 

Smartphones not only streamline the shopping process but also offer unique benefits for retailers, such as the ability to interact immediately with customers through personalized recommendations, push notifications and app-only deals.

For e-commerce companies, investing in mobile-friendly platforms is a necessity. Ensuring that mobile apps and websites are intuitive and optimized for easy browsing and seamless checkout is crucial for capturing and retaining the modern shopper’s attention.

7. Visual search technology

Visual search technology enhances the shopping experience by allowing users to simply upload an image to find and buy similar products. As social media fills our feeds with visual inspiration, consumers increasingly expect the same seamless experience on e-commerce sites.

Leveraging advancements in image recognition, machine learning and computer vision, this technology simplifies product comparisons and helps find cost-effective options online. A Gartner survey suggests that integrating visual search can boost digital commerce revenue by 30%. More than enhancing sales, visual search tools streamline the shopping experience, reducing the frustration of hard-to-find products and meeting modern shoppers’ expectations for quick and efficient service.

8. Retail stores are still relevant

Despite the explosive growth of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores continue to hold a significant place in the retail landscape. Forrester’s research predicts that in 2024, a substantial 72% of U.S. retail sales will still take place in physical stores. This trend is likely driven by the ROPO effect—research online, purchase offline—where consumers use online tools to compare prices and read reviews but prefer to make their final purchases in-store.

Statista’s data from 2023 further supports this, showing that many shoppers prefer to examine products firsthand. This is particularly true in categories like furniture, home goods, beauty and clothing, where the ability to touch and try items is preferred

This ongoing preference underlines the need for retailers to implement effective omnichannel strategies. By seamlessly connecting online and offline shopping experiences, businesses can increase customer lifetime value by up to 30%.

Conclusion

The e-commerce landscape in 2024 is a fusion of innovative technologies, emerging consumer behaviors and a shift towards sustainable and ethical shopping practices. For businesses looking to thrive in this digital marketplace, adapting to these trends is imperative. The leaders in this space will be those who not only adapt but also anticipate and shape the future of online shopping.

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Header image from Freepik 

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