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From Fluorescence to Fur, E-Commerce Trends Reveal What Consumers Want

The power of brands and mobile shopping has become hotter than ever in fashion and home goods retail.

That’s the finding of a new e-commerce report from visual search AI company Syte. Syte looked at data from more than 1.2 billion e-commerce sessions in the fashion, jewelry, and home decor categories from January to June 2022 to formulate its State of eCommerce Discovery in 2022 report outlining style trends and more.

According to the report, 49 percent of all e-commerce sessions during the time period came from direct traffic—consumers going straight to brand websites rather than other retailers. Direct traffic led all sources in jewelry (30.7 percent), fashion and apparel (49 percent) and home decor (40.4 percent).

“Brands are investing significantly for customers to come to their sites,” Syte CEO Vered Levy-Ron said. “And I believe the customers come to the brand site directly for the value add—so for the styling, for the images, for the ads, for the general branding.”

One of the biggest shifts the report found is that for the first time, mobile purchasing overtook desktop in home decor, with 52.9 percent of transactions taking place on cell phones. That said, the home category still lags behind fashion and apparel, which saw 81.4 percent of purchases made on mobile devices, and jewelry, which saw 67.6 percent of sales on mobile.

“I think a lot of this started during Covid, so I think that’s related to the trends of how people got used to shopping online,” Levy-Ron said. “People who traditionally didn’t buy online were doing so, and we also saw an increase in jewelry, with a larger share of purchases coming from online, as well as home decor.”

While consumers are making more purchases on mobile devices, they’re spending more time per session on desktops. For fashion and apparel, consumers spent 7:34 minutes on desktop sites versus 5:48 minutes on mobile. In jewelry, shoppers spent nearly a minute more on desktop sessions, and for home, they spent 7:22 minutes on desktop versus 5:35 minutes on mobile sessions.

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“It’s a trend that combines the physical and the digital together,” Levy-Ron said. “And the website is very important in that. The site is about digital search. So, it’s really like the experience of walking into the store, and looking with your eyes in the online world.”

Levy-Ron said consumers are taking a more omnichannel approach to shopping, and they expect brands and retailers to be able to seamlessly transition between all channels to better meet their needs.

“One of our customers in France now actually allows people to shop online, keep the reservation, come into the store, and the salesperson has an app, so you can see what’s in the store, but if you want to see some other things, they use the app to recommend another thing,” she said.

Levy-Ron said that while the pandemic certainly had an impact on increasing digital sales, as Covid protocols ease, people are become more comfortable returning to in-store shopping. But now that they’ve gotten accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers need to step up their game to attract consumers back to the physical store.

“I think when they do come into the store, they are looking for an experience, or an outing,” she said. “They want to be surprised, they want to be inspired. So stores are adding services, dining, experiences, and popup stores within, all to keep people engaged, to give them a reason to come in.”

And while e-commerce is still hot, retailers need to approach their online stores the same way they do in-person shops, making the experience exceptional for the consumer.

“Especially now, with the way the economy is, I think marketing efficiency is very important,” Levy-Ron said. “Brands are spending a lot of money to bring the customers into their online store. And you’ve got to be much more efficient in making sure these customers find what they want on your site.”

Syte also looked at style trends favored by consumers when analyzing data for the report. Color-wise, Levy-Ron said light, happy colors have increased in prominence, influenced by both the season and the desire for upbeat looks after several difficult years.

“People are looking for pleasant colors, and they’re not the whites and browns that sometimes happen, nor are they these more fluorescent colors,” she said. “People are looking for yellow, purple, green—pastel colors.”

Material-wise, Levy-Ron said the report found that consumers have become less interested in things like fur and feathers, instead opting for textures like straw and eyelet.

“People are looking today for fabrics that are sustainable, and more supported with what most people believe that should happen as far as taking care of the planet,” she said.