Bracing for the social media shopping phenomenon: DHL on the latest trends in e-commerce

  • Smartphones are becoming the dominant shop window and purchasing device
  • App-based marketplaces such as Shein and Temu are gaining significant popularity
  • 65% of global online shoppers prioritize knowing the delivery provider before making a purchase


The power of social media and smartphones in e-commerce

According to the report, social commerce is becoming the next big thing in e-commerce. It allows users to buy products directly via networks like Instagram and Facebook. Sales through social media platforms are expected to reach 8.5 trillion US dollars by 2030 compared to estimated 700 billion US dollars in 2024. This would represent an approximately twelve-fold increase within a span of six years. Asia is at the forefront of this trend, with countries like China seeing 53% and Thailand 59% of shoppers purchasing via social media. With this also comes a shift in preferred devices for buying online. Most online shoppers prefer to browse and purchase products with their smartphones. 57 % use their smartphone as the dominant shop window and purchasing device. Of course, this also has implications for the presentation of products and the structure of online stores.

The global phenomenon of app-based marketplaces has witnessed a remarkable surge in popularity, with Shein and Temu leading the way. These platforms share the everyday appeal of offering online shoppers an enormous range of products seamlessly integrated into user-friendly mobile apps. Shein is immensely popular with shoppers in the UAE, Morocco, and Brazil, while Temu has gained significant traction among shoppers in the USA and the Netherlands. However, in Europe, Zalando remains the preferred online shopping destination. Except for the Netherlands, emerging Asian marketplaces have not yet established a leading position.

Delivery services are a critical factor in online shopping success

Today’s online shoppers are highly conscious of costs, particularly when seeking affordable, flexible, and convenient delivery options. High delivery costs are a significant barrier, with 41% of shoppers abandoning their purchases due to expensive delivery fees. Even more, 65% of global shoppers emphasize the importance of knowing the delivery provider before purchasing. This underscores the significance of transparency and trust in the delivery process, as customers want to know the logistics partner responsible for handling their orders.

About the DHL Online Shopper Trends Report 

The DHL Online Shopper Trends Report 2024 provides insights into the international e-commerce industry, specific markets, and consumer preferences. DHL eCommerce commissioned the study to understand consumers’ online shopping habits across the globe. The 2024 research took place across 24 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, Canada, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, UAE, Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Thailand) and involved 12,000 participants. This year, DHL eCommerce created a series of chapters starting with the trends shaping the e-commerce landscape. The full report is set to be published in autumn 2024.