Ecommerce App Marketing in 2020 vs 2021

Customer behaviour has significantly changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and this can be seen across a wide range of eCommerce platforms, this has accelerated digital marketing performance growth by 4-6 years in just 18 months.

Even now after restrictions across the UK have been lifted, the public has adapted to shopping online and high street shopping will never be the same again. Everything has gone digital and there’s no looking back. The data backs this up, in February 2021 71% of people are buying more online than before the pandemic but 24% of people are buying just as much online as before, this has seen a steady increase from March 2020 where it was 41%.

Are Retail Apps Now At The Top?

Within the digital universe, mobile eCommerce is the big dog when it comes to sales with mobile sales making up 64% and retail sales growing 30% in 2020. Mobile commerce sales hit around $3.2 trillion this year and this is expected to pass $5 trillion in 2025, almost doubling the 2020 figure!

Sales via apps have seen the biggest growth increase with downloads of eCommerce apps increasing nearly 50% and in 2021 consumer spending climbed 55%. The surge of usage on retail apps in 2021 has nearly reached the levels of summer 2020 and as a result winter in 2021/22 will see a rise like no other before it.

I think it is quite clear that mobile retail apps need to be near the centre of all eCommerce strategies, with an incentive to build a first-class mobile experience for potential and existing customers. When it comes to ‘putting the customer first’, allowing them to have an easy to use, simple app for smartphones that they cannot go without, is imperative for success. This can be achieved by following these two consumer-centric points:

  • Functionality
  • Emotionality

Not only do a high percentage of marketers say this, but Google themselves say it, this is the future and it cannot be ignored.

Global eCommerce Ad Spend

The growth and success of eCommerce apps have to come at a cost, so let’s take a look at a breakdown of the amount spent across the globe.

Mobile app marketers are spending billions to acquire users in a highly competitive and in-demand global market. The US leads the way, but this is mainly down to its sheer size and population and because of a high cost of media. See below the spend from the US compared to the UK:

  • US – $1,862,000,000
  • UK – $331,000,000

IOS vs Android

We all know that the two biggest leaders in mobile application software are IOS and Android but, who held the better hand?

At the start of the pandemic, iOS took the lead with eCommerce app downloads surging above competitors such as Android and other applications, but once the new iOS 14.5 update rolled out in late April 2021 the patterns of installations differed somewhat. Android increased by 5% between May and July 2021, whereas iOS installs dropped 12%, most likely linked to the drop in non-organic installs driven by the ever-increasing cost of paid media.

This took the overall eCommerce installs year on year (Jan-July) to +55% on Android and +32% on iOS.

Black Friday 2021

Online marketers saw massive growth in the past year due to Covid-19 and social distancing and lockdown restrictions impacting the physical shopping scene, almost everything moved digital. But what can we expect to see from one of the most lucrative times of the year, Black Friday?

As the digital market soared onto another level we have yet to see it even out, eCommerce app marketing success continues to rise. Consumer spending on and around Black Friday last year (2020) saw spending increase 143% when compared to the last three Black Fridays.

Ecommerce app installations increased 153% year on year when comparing Nov 2020 to Nov 2019 while non-organic (paid) app installs increased 82% year on year.

It is expected that Nov 2021 eCommerce sales will rise a further 15% compared to last year.

While the economic climate for mobile marketers is in a good position, a crucial aspect that needs to be considered is the rising cost of media spend across all platforms. Ad budgets will need to be reviewed by marketers across the globe as the cost doesn’t seem to be dropping any time soon.


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