The consumer shift to digital media has accelerated in the past 12 months, with online channels now set to take a greater share of retail, and TikTok’s expansion into social commerce being an even greater challenge to established platforms like Facebook.

These findings by WARC, the international marketing intelligence service, are included in the latest Global Ad Trends report: COVID-19 One Year On, which outlines the new, long-term shifts in e-commerce, social media, online video and gaming for brands and consumers.

E-commerce: $900bn more was spent at online retailers last year

Nearly $1trn more was spent at online retailers last year, per the Mastercard Economics Institute, and the move to online retail has engrained long-term habits. Brands are investing more in e-commerce advertising, which grew far ahead of the wider online ad market last year.

This trend is set to continue even as high street footfall increases in 2021 and major players like Amazon become more attractive – data from Earnest Research show 59% of new COVID-19 Amazon customers were still buying with the company at the end of 2020, the highest retention rate in American retail.

The growing popularity of ‘buy online for pickup in store’, which has seen over a quarter of adults in the US (26%), Mexico (28%) and India (33%) using the service more, indicates flexibility and convenience will be a key consumer strategy in the future.

Social Media:

TikTok was the social winner of 2020 – user activity doubled and brands are upping their investment

Driven by entertaining content, TikTok is now the social app with the highest level of user activity, having overtaken Facebook for the top spot in Canada (TikTok users spend 17 hours a month on the app), France (17 hours), the UK (20 hours) and the United States (22 hours), per App Annie.

Findings included in WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2021, based on a survey of over 1,000 marketers, show that 44% of brands expect to increase spend on TikTok this year, ahead of Facebook’s 39%.

Regional findings from Global Ad Trends: COVID One Year On in Asia Pacific:

  • E-commerce doubled its share of retail in Australia (to 11%) and India (10%) during the peak of the crisis last year.
  • YouTube consumption grew quickest in Asia Pacific last year, rising 19%.
  • Chinese Tmall food sales struggled at the end of 2020, dropping 62% in December.

Source: B&T Magazine news