Keeping Up with the E-commerce Boom: Drivers, Challenges, and Key Trends

Over the past decade, we have seen remarkable growth in the eCommerce industry, with consumers increasingly turning to online platforms for their shopping needs. According to Statista, the global eCommerce market is expected to exceed €5.3 trillion by 2027, with online shopping set to account for 20% of retail globally – a trajectory demonstrating a fundamental long-term shift in our economies and lifestyles.

As the world becomes more interconnected and digital, let’s break down key trends – the drivers behind the boom, the challenges eCommerce faces, and how key stakeholders are shaping the industry.

Before we do – a bit of context. “eCommerce has consistently been closely intertwined with macroeconomic and technological changes, spanning from the inception of the internet to significant events such as the global financial crisis of 2007, the increasing adoption of mobile devices, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Statista.

Take 2022 as a prime example. The industry experienced negative growth for the first time, which was mainly due to supply chain disruptions due to the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and the cost-of-living crisis wreaking havoc with people’s disposable income.

But, in Statista’s words, “it would be surprising if eCommerce’s continuous expansion as a significant portion of the overall retail industry were to halt. With new generations becoming more digitally savvy and artificial intelligence enhancing the allure of online shopping, online spending is expected to constitute a larger share of consumer expenditure progressively.” 

So, what can be expected?

Three Game-Changing Trends Shaping e-commerce 

Based on intense market research, Statista expects three significant trends to disrupt the industry: social commerce, sustainability, and the metaverse – or metaverses.

  1. Social-first e-commerce

Social commerce directs purchasing through social media platforms and is already huge in the Asian-Pacific region. Statista’s research shows the potential of the social commerce market will reach almost €1 trillion globally by 2027. If this were to happen, it would make up 15% of 2027’s eCommerce market size.

For more on social commerce, click here

  1. Sustainability-conscious Consumers

Sustainability will continue to have an increasing influence on consumer behaviours, and subsequently, on eCommerce. While environmentally conscious consumers may veer away from certain purchases, their awareness has also fuelled the growth in sustainable brands, products and resale markets, as well as the packaging in which those items move around the world.

Mondi’s Group eCommerce Director, Nedim Nisic, knows that also many eCommerce companies are taking notice of sustainability and putting it in their focus: “Sustainability is at the heart of consumer needs. Consumers want packaging that fits their needs, which increasingly includes sustainability aspects.”

  1. Well Versed in the Metaverse

The metaverse is anticipated to be an increasingly powerful tool that is relevant for some brands to engage their audiences in new ways. While still in its early stages, we’re seeing more and more brands already selling new products through the platform.

According to McKinsey’s findings, investment in the metaverse exceeded $120 billion in 2022, more than twice the amount invested in the previous year. Statista’s forecast suggests that the funding value in the metaverse is expected to skyrocket to $490 billion by 2030. And while the metaverse is still evolving, the potential for positive customer experiences, product innovation, and sales and marketing are already being explored by the likes of Nike, who have seen millions of people – or their avatars – pass through their Nikeland virtual world, built in the Roblox ecosystem.

What is the e-commerce industry doing?

As the retail eCommerce industry grows, it must tackle a further macro trend that will impact operations. Evolving customer behaviours combined with technological advancements mean that businesses adapt to future-proof their operations.

“Collaboration between the packaging industry, eCommerce platforms, and other key players is vital to navigating these challenges,” Nedim believes. “Particularly when it comes to the sustainability challenge, working together can help the industry meet the expectations of customers and the demands of policymakers who are pushing for circularity of products and packaging.

“That approach can make what look like challenges now into opportunities for the future – working on the packaging of today for the planet of tomorrow will help us future-proof our businesses.”

About Mondi Group eCommerce

Mondi Group offers a full portfolio of eCommerce packaging solutions and products that are fit for purpose, innovative, and sustainable by design. We are setting new standards in the industry with our expertise in sustainable materials and product design. Driven by an agile and customer-centric mindset, our network of more than 100 in-house packaging designers develops award-winning eCommerce solutions together with our partners. Our focus is on decreasing total packaging costs, reducing waste, and meeting end-consumer needs through a combination of our sustainability expertise and a full portfolio of multi-material solutions, including kraft and functional barrier paper, paper bags, and corrugated solutions.