11 Ecommerce Predictions for 2018

At the risk of being a little late in the year with this post, I’m sharing my ecommerce predictions for 2018. I realize nobody necessarily asked for these, and I’m sure many will be wrong. Regardless, it’s a good starting point for looking at what may happen in the coming year, at least the things that matter to independent ecommerce sellers.

These are in no particular order and are numbered only to make it easier to refer to specific items in the future.

Ecommerce predictions for 2018

  1. Ecommerce continues to grow slowly. Going back over 12 years, ecommerce has grown steadily as a percentage of total retail. This will continue in 2018, with the rate growing to 9.6% by Sept 2018.
  2. Amazon continues to grow their share of ecommerce sales. They already have over 40% of all online sales. I see no signs of a slowdown by Amazon. By 2018 Q2, I predict they will have over 45% of online sales.
  3. The percentage of Amazon’s sales from marketplace sellers continues to grow, tilting toward the marketplace sellers taking the lead with 55% of sales.
  4. Print-on-demand ecommerce grows significantly. This may be harder to track overall so I’ll give a few specific guesses. Merch by Amazon adds at least 1 new, non-apparel product to their line this year. Printful surpasses 2000 reviews on the Shopify app store, where they currently have 1393.
  5. Chatbots grow in popularity. Another tough one to measure so I’ll go with a couple of Google tools. Here’s a screenshot of a search for “ecommerce chatbots” (on an incognito page) with 2,260,000 results and few ads. And here’s the term “chatbots” in Google trends.
  6. There’s more of a backlash against Amazon, both from consumers and sellers. Unsure how to measure this, but I sense that Amazon is beginning to be a bit too everywhere  for some consumers. And for businesses, it’s clear that Amazon doesn’t care to spend much time working with merchants to make them happy. There are plenty of cases of sellers being burned by Amazon for small infractions, or even complete mistakes triggered by bots. As more sellers flock to the platform, this will happen to more merchants who have come to rely on Amazon for far too much of their revenue.
  7. Shopping by mobile and voice rises. Mobile is huge already, but will be even bigger. Voice shopping will grow enormously this year with the help of Alexa (primarily), as well as Google Home and Apple’s devices.
  8. No cryptocurrency, including bitcoin will see major usage in ecommerce. Bitcoin doesn’t look like it will be used much for transactions (the decentralized peer-to-peer ecommerce platform OpenBazaar opened payments to non-bitcoin currencies once it became apparent nobody would use Bitcoin) and no other digital currency has seen much adoption for real transactions yet. At this point, most consumers see no reason to move away from credit cards, PayPal, Amazon payments, and other saved payment options. It’s already really convenient to pay, plus there’s some protection if things go wrong.
  9. China continues to see huge ecommerce growth. The Chinese middle class is burgeoning and ecommerce is catching fire in China. Many in China still prefer imported non-Chinese made goods and cross-border sales have exploded. This will continue in 2018, surpassing $40 billion by next year.
  10. The number of independent ecommerce stores grows. This includes WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and other platforms. It’s easier than ever to setup a store, and merchandise is getting much easier to create. More brands and individuals will continue opening successful independent ecommerce stores.
  11. More services will be sold as products (productized services), making them more similar to purchasing physical goods, saving time and making things more streamlined.

Those are my predictions. I’ll revisit again in a year to see how this looks. Feel free to share your thoughts or your own ecommerce predictions for 2018 in the comments below.

Andrew @ EcomLoop
EcomLoop founder. I've worked in ecommerce since 2005, beginning with my own ebay store. I've run multiple independent ecommerce businesses on Magento, Joomla, and more recently, Shopify and WooCommerce. I believe marketplaces should be looked at as a sales channel and that all independent businesses should strive to build a direct connection with their audience for long-term success.

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