Contrary to perceived common knowledge, 2021 was quite a good year for the majority of small and medium-sized ecommerce businesses.
1-in-5 businesses recorded sales growth of at least 40%.
In a survey of 150 small and medium-sized companies carried out by Sendlane – in order to get a picture of the current ecommerce market – a vast majority of 92% saw their sales increase.
The largest section of companies, 34% of them, recorded sales between 10-20%.
For 33% of small and medium-sized businesses, sales rose between 20-40%.
For 21% of small and medium-sized businesses, sales increased by at least 40%.
As well as rising sales levels, profit margins also increased. Almost all companies – up to 90% – saw an increase in overall profits by 10% or more.
93% of them expect sales to continue to increase, while 28% of them expect sales to rise by at least 40%.
The starting point for strong sales and profits are traffic. The vast majority of companies, 90%, recorded an increase in traffic of at least 10%.
Having said that, website traffic has now stabilized in connection with the rise in ecommerce.
When demand surges, it leads to further investment. Due to the increase in ecommerce, it has led businesses to invest in their technology and digital infrastructure.
85% of retailers put money into ecommerce tech during 2021 than they did the year before. And within this group, close to half, 46%, spent at least 40% or more than 2020.
Despite outlining the successes of small and medium-sized businesses, there do remain challenges. And many businesses faced them last year.
More than one third, 35%, said that cyberfraud was their most pressing concern. This was followed, by 18% of businesses, by fear that financial conditions made it difficult for consumers to spend. And then concerns of shipping delays (13%) and website stability (8%).
In terms of marketing, less may be more. Almost 7-in-10 businesses (67%) believe that consumers are feeling marketing fatigue.
This is leading a minority of 21% to consider new ways to engage customers instead of spamming their inbox. While 39% of businesses are looking at investing in personalization capabilities.
“The past year has been an exciting and complicated time for ecommerce”, said Jimmy Kim, CEO of Sendlane. “Certainly, the pandemic has accelerated the shift to online shopping, but consumer buying habits were moving in this direction well before Covid, too.”
Jimmy continued that what stood out “about our 2021 eCommerce Health study is that 53% of respondents believe the state of ecommerce is ‘strong,’ and 39% believe it is ‘very strong.’ This tells me that despite the concerns related to the economy, shipping issues, cyber fraud, etc., ecommerce retailers are in a great position to succeed in 2022.”