The rise and rise of digital commerce

A new study from Juniper Research forecasts that users of digital commerce services will reach 3 billion by 2021 –  or 40 per cent of the global population, up from just 32 per cent this year.

The research, Digital Commerce: Key Trends, Sectors & Forecasts 2017-2021, found that two core sectors will dominate the global digital commerce industry, in terms of transaction values:

  • Remote payments for digital & physical goods.
  • Digital banking via bill payment services.

These segments together will account for over half of global transaction values by 2021. Significant opportunity for businesses exists, with remote payments for digital and physical goods forecast to account for over 10 per cent of the US$20 trillion global retail market in 2017.

Chatbots crucial for engagement

Juniper’s study found that businesses will gain advantage through use of automated customer experiences. With product search and discovery a key stage in the shopper journey, merchants must adopt conversational interfaces to drive customer engagement and, ultimately, sales. Juniper found that by 2021 the surge in chatbot use will result in positive gains throughout the digital commerce market.

“Juniper has found that chatbots and natural language search can greatly improve retailer understanding of consumer behaviour, so we are witnessing growth in this sector, for example investment by Facebook and Google, as well as the launch of digital assistants by companies such as Amazon,” explained research author Lauren Foye.  

Mobile drives digital banking

In addition, the research discovered that digital banking will increasingly envelop a greater proportion of the global population, with adoption approaching one in two adults by 2021.

Juniper found that usage will continue to rise as consumers increasingly opt for banks offering the convenience of rapid, multi-channel digital services. This means that providers will need to focus on presenting ever more frictionless digital experiences to their customers, especially if they are to remain market leaders.

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