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Consumers spent $900B more on ecommerce than before: WARC

Consumers spent nearly $1 trillion at online retailers last year, an additional $900 billion compared to last year

By: Business Today Egypt

Wed, Apr. 28, 2021

Unsurprisingly, online shopping channels have eaten a bigger piece of the retail market with 12+ months of pandemic-related closures, lockdowns, and self-quarantines.

Brands are investing more in e-commerce advertising, which grew far ahead of the wider online ad market last year, says WARC, the international marketing intelligence service.

Consumers spent nearly $1 trillion at online retailers last year, an additional $900 billion compared to last year according to the MasterCard Economics Institute, a massive leap that many note will create long-term habits.

While there was an uptick in consumption for many media during the initial outbreak, this had been nullified within core traditional channels by the second half of the year, writes WARC in its COVID-19 One Year On report.

In their data, we can see that despite the disruption to the global advertising industry, companies were able to quickly adapt and shift priorities to digital channels as consumers became more reliant on media to replace other activities.

COVID-19 One Year On Media trends in 2020
COVID-19 One Year On Media trends in 2020


On Social

Social media’s influence on daily activity and consumer habits only increased as more and more time was spent on social platforms, with TikTok seeing a significant rise in fame with easy editing software and smart algorithm coding.

Driven by entertaining content, TikTok is now the social app with the highest level of user activity, says WARC.

According to WARC, TikTok will have taken over Facebook’s role as a mainstay for influencer campaigns due to having a stronger role in popular culture.

COVID-19 One Year On Media trends in 2020


In Egypt however, this role may still be in Instagram’s hands, with We Are Social’s 2021 Egypt report stating that the photo app saw 65 percent using the app in the last month, while TikTok received 36.4 percent.

EMEA saw the quickest growth in TikTok user activity last year, up 103 percent, wrote WARC.

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


WARC’s biggest takeaways

TV delivers more favorable advertising, with social media campaigns often called ‘excessive’ or ‘intrusive’ Television also performs better even among audiences who actively avoid advertising.

Brands need a new social strategy for older consumers. Older audiences are engaging with online media more than ever before, but they are also significantly more likely to view social advertising negatively.

Data-rich audiences are turned off by targeting. The largest consumers of digital media are most resistant to targeted advertising, undermining one of the main benefits of digital TV and audio campaigns.

Too many ads has the greatest impact on brand sentiment. Ads that block content, are irrelevant or next to inappropriate content are also highly damaging. A rising focus on advertising in quality contexts will help avoid this.