Small ecommerce brands have had a record year in 2021, with 92% saying their sales grew. And 85% invested in technology starting with email — although many worry that they’re sending too many messages, according to "The State of Ecommerce Is Strong," a study released Thursday by Sendlane.
Of the smaller firms polled, 63% spent on email marketing systems in 2021, followed by marketing automation (56%) IT infrastructure (51%) inventory management (38%) and data management/analytics (36%).
But it will be different next year, when only 45% of SMBs expect to invest in email tech — perhaps the remainder feel they have email under control.
Meanwhile, 53% of small brands will invest in marketing automation, inventory management (49%), order management (39%) and data management/analytics (24%).
Most retailers in this survey posted double-digit sales increases in 2021: 34% saw 10-20% hikes and 33% enjoyed 20-40% increases. In addition, 11% posted 40-60%, 5% 60-80% and 5% 80-100%. At the lower rung, 11% report 10% sales growth or less.
But there are warning signs. One is that 67% fear consumers are suffering from marketing message fatigue.
They probably should be worried: 87% of companies increased their volume of marketing messages in 2021; and 30% of companies did so by 10-20%, and the same percentage increased volume by 20-40%.
What can ecommerce brands do about it in 2022? They respond:
Of course, ecommerce retailers also had other issues that concerned them most in 2021. Here message fatigue ranks rather low: :
The issues anticipated for next year are different:
Is COVID-19 having an impact? It sure is — 45% believe the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the online versus in-person buying decision “a lot” going into 2022, and 43% say “a little.”
Moreover, 59% say there was a big impact on this decision in 2021.
On another front, 80% of retailers added new ecommerce employees in 2021, the big gains coming in:
Hiring will be similar next year:
There is reason for hope.
“What really stands 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,’” states Jimmy Kim, CEO of Sendlane. “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.”
Sendlane surveyed 150 small ecommerce marketing firms, defining those as retailers with less than $50 million in annual sales.