We pored over data from more than 2,000 of the world’s most visited eCommerce retailers across multiple categories, including:

  • Fashion
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Kids Products
  • Beauty and Skincare
  • Automobile
  • Pet products
  • Sports

And more. We relied on SEMrush’s analysis and tools to provide the data in this report.

The findings showed many eCommerce anomalies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s not all doom and gloom. We also found interesting opportunities.

For example, YouTube had a 49 percent traffic surge in Italy, but CPC rates are collapsing across most eCommerce categories. Advertiser confidence fell as the pandemic stretched to June 2020.

The silver lining:

The fall in CPC is perfect for launching new products or driving sales for an existing product.

If you’re bothered about eCommerce’s future and how all that’s happening in 2020 will influence your industry and market, this report will help you make sense of it.Table of contents

Key Takeaways: Ecommerce Digital Marketing Trends in 2020

Although you’ll find the details of this digital marketing trends report insightful, we’ve have distilled some of the takeaways here.

Traffic spike to eCommerce sites during the 2020 springtime exceeded traffic figures for traditional shopping rush during the winter holidays, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.

The top three eCommerce categories experiencing the most growth saw their traffic grow by 40 to 50 percent year-over-year. These categories are Food and Groceries, Sports and Outdoors, and Home and Garden.

For example, in the Home and Garden category, searches for outdoor toys gone up 400 percent, and garden chairshave gone up 300 percent. Search for yoga mats have gone up 323 percent, and men’s running clothing search is up by over 164 percent.

These takeaways are the tip of the iceberg. The pandemic has altered eCommerce as we know it and set unique trends we might have to live with for a while.

Ecommerce Consumer Demand Trends

The pandemic months have seen drastic changes in demand trends for eCommerce shoppers. Apart from the dramatic rush for toilet papers, which lifted the search volume for that product by 14,928 percent, other consumer goods have grown remarkably.

The search volume for bidets grew by more than 10x in February and March alone. Other consumer items that grew this way include:

  • Freezers at 512 percent,
  • Bread machines at 396 percent
  • Pelotons at 124 percent
  • Air purifier at 83 percent

And a host of others. Let’s explore the eCommerce digital marketing trends for consumer demands in 2020.

1. The search volume for hand wash joined the top five in Health and Beauty

The search for handwash has gone from an average monthly search of 73,000 in the first half of 2019 to 638,400 monthly searches for the same period in 2020. Meanwhile, the rest of the products in the top five have remained the same year-over-year.

2. The search for webcams have grown by more than 300 percent in 2020 YoY

In 2019, the monthly search for webcams was one million in consumer electronics, but that has grown to 3.045 million in the first half of 2020. The growing demand for webcams displaced the drones from the list of the most search products in that category.

3. Consumers are turning their homes into workspaces

Home and Garden has seen a growth in demand. The search for “office chair” grew from 417,200 to 1,254,000 monthly searches, overtaking mattresses on the most searched products list.

Meanwhile, the most popular products by search have remained stable in other industries in this period.

4. The search for hand gel grew by 19,038 percent

Hand sanitizers saw a massive growth at the peak of the pandemic months, March to April 2020. For every search for hand gel in the same months in 2019, it had more than 190 searches in 2020.

Related products also saw a boost in search volume. Search for hand wipes grew by 3,032 percent, and hand washincreased 1,368 percent.

5. Search for outdoor and sports items has grown by 164 percent to over 400 percent

In 2020, outdoor toys and garden chairs have experienced 4x and 3x their 2019 search volumes, in that order. Meanwhile, the search for sports items has grown too.

Interest in men’s running clothing has gone up by more than 164 percent. The search for Yoga mats grew by over 323 percent. Puzzles grew by 309 percent.

Of the top three Walmart goods by traffic to webpages during the pandemic, Nintendo Switch consoles occupied the numbers one and three positions. The number one console got 945,000 visitors, and the other one got 479,000 visitors.

Ecommerce Traffic Trends

Researchers predicted that eCommerce sales in 2020 would reach an all-time high of $3.914 trillion. But the pandemic is poised to raise that figure.

Shoppers rely on online stores to buy everything from basic, daily needs to high-end goods. People shop online for groceries, electronics, auto-parts, skincare products, and more.

Notably, the search for laptops has grown by 123 percent year-over-year, 2019 to 2020.

6. Top eCommerce platforms saw their traffic increase to more than one billion visitors in the pandemic period

As the pandemic hit, businesses that either had a limited online presence or previously didn’t sell online turned to eCommerce store builders to launch their businesses. Consequently, traffic to these store builders grew.

7. Shopify received over 7.3 million site visits in March, more than the previous month

The eCommerce platform saw a 29 percent year-over-year growth. Searches for “Shopify free trial” grew by 89 percent in March alone.

8. The average monthly eCommerce traffic across industries worldwide is 17 billion

The 2020 pandemic shifted the traffic trends of eCommerce buyers. The year’s peak traffic periods are usually in November and December for Black Friday and the end-of-year promotions. Traditionally, consumers shop for more products online than at any other time in the year.

However, the pandemic drove shoppers to online and spiked springtime traffic to eCommerce stores beyond the end-of-year numbers. Notably, that traffic maintained its growth until June 2020.

9. Average traffic growth in the pandemic months of March to June across categories was 36 percent

Due to the need for social distancing, shoppers had to rely on eCommerce vendors to handle all their needs. Hence, traffic to eCommerce stores experienced steady growth throughout that period, averaging 36 percent across categories.

10. The top three eCommerce categories’ traffic grew by 40 to 50 percent in the pandemic months

These top three categories are Home and Garden, Food and Groceries, and Sport and Outdoors. This data doesn’t include traffic to general merchandise stores like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.

From the graph below, you’ll notice that Home and Garden grew faster than any other category in those months. The category surpassed 1.5 billion visitors and nearly reached two billion visitors.

11. Mobile traffic makes up 70 percent of all eCommerce traffic

Websites optimized for mobile reaped bounty returns as most visitors to eCommerce stores relied on a mobile device. Only 30 percent of visitors used non-mobile sources to access eCommerce stores.

12. 57.77 percent of visitors are direct traffic

Nearly 60 percent of site traffic comes from direct site visits. This highlights the importance of branding in eCommerce. More buyers are becoming brand conscious, and they are becoming brand loyal too.

The other top traffic sources for eCommerce shops are:

  • Search traffic at 26.44 percent
  • Referral traffic has 9.74 percent
  • Social media traffic has 2.13 percent
  • Paid traffic contributed 3.92 percent

13. All eCommerce categories saw a 17 percent average traffic lift

In SEMrush’s findings, all eCommerce categories saw an average boost in traffic year-over-year based on traffic data from January 2019 to June 2020. A lift in traffic means conversions will likely be higher as more people rely on these online stores for their needs throughout the pandemic months.

14. Most direct traffic visit Health and Beauty followed by Fashion eCommerce Stores

At 61 percent for Health and Beauty sites and 59 percent for Fashion sites, these categories see more people on their sites than others. Moreover, Health and Beauty had the most traffic boost at 24 percent in this period.

While people are paying attention to their healths more, they’re also shopping for fashion items, probably for post-pandemic preparations. In one survey, people showed that going outdoors, especially with family and friends, is their priority when the pandemic is over.

At 48 percent, hanging out with family and friends came out number one, as most people look forward to connecting with their loved ones. People also look forward to visiting restaurants and exacting out; this activity got 32 percent interest.

15. Branded search traffic has increased

Health and Beauty saw the most growth year-over-year, at 16 percent, for branded search traffic. The category’s brand traffic stands at 23 percent, just behind the second highest brand traffic, consumer electronics.

Consumer electronics has its brand search traffic number at 26 percent.

Although the Fashion category grew by only four percent, brand search traffic for fashion items stands at a whopping 45 percent.

Other double-digit brand traffic search includes:

  • Kids products at 17 percent
  • Groceries and food at 11 percent
  • Sports and Outdoors at 11 percent

Gifts and flowers have the least branded search traffic at only two percent.

Ecommerce Ad Trends

New sellers rely on paid traffic to launch their products when entering into highly competitive markets or niches. In comparison, established sellers drive extra traffic to their websites with ads to remain competitive and boost their income.

16. 45.96 percent of advertisers spend $1,000 or less on Google ads monthly worldwide

The second highest group of ad spenders spend $20,000 to $150,000 monthly on Google ads. This group makes up 15.98 percent of advertisers. Another 13.82 percent spend more than $150,000 monthly on Google ads.

The smallest group of advertisers spend $3,000 to $5,000 monthly. This group comprises 3.59 percent of sellers using Google ads to drive their business.

The big questions here are why are 30 percent of advertisers spending over $20,000 monthly on ads monthly? Why are 46 percent of them spending $1,000 or less?

These spending patterns have some possible explanations:

  1. A majority of advertisers are still testing their ads to find what works
  2. Most advertisers do not have a large budget to invest in ads
  3. When advertisers find what works, they invest $20,000 or more monthly

These are just possible reasons for the polarized ad spending patterns we see here. Of course, there are probably other reasons.

In the US, 30 percent of advertisers limit their budget to $1,000 or less a month.

17. About 50 percent of General Retailers and Fashion E-tailers Spend over $150,000 on ads monthly

Based on SEMrush’s analysis of the data gathered from its PPC Advertising Toolkit, the largest ad spenders are Fashion e-tailers and General Retailers. As a group, about half of these sellers spend more than $150,000 on ads per month.

18. Online ad budgets fell by 20 percent YoY during the pandemic months of March to June 2020

Compared to the previous year, March to June 2019, the pandemic months experienced 20 percent ad budget cuts in 2020. At the onset, advertisers who spent more than $1 million a month hesitated to cut their spending, but they started giving in by June 2020.

As of March 2020, advertisers with a budget of over $1 million increased their spending by 5.6 percent while others had reduced theirs.

Advertisers who spent $100,000 to $1 million cut their ad spend the most. This group had cut their spending by 34 percent in June 2020.

The upside of advertisers cutting their spending is that the cost per click for ads has gone down. So advertisers can get more bang for their buck. However, this collapse in ad costs didn’t happen across all eCommerce industries uniformly.

19. Beauty and Fitness ad spend was 28.9 percent in March 2020 compared to February; meanwhile, other categories were down

By March 2020, ad spend in categories like Travel, Sports, Law, and Government was down by 46.4 percent, 17.8 percent, and 15 percent, in that order. But Beauty and Fitness advertisers pumped in 28.9 percent more money into ads compared to February 2020.

Following the decline in ad spend, Google’s revenue is projected to go down by $28 billion. Meanwhile, consumers have been spending their time on streaming content, reading digital news, and gaming. For example, SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics data shows that Italy’s YouTube saw a 49.04 percent boost in its traffic.

These trends suggest that investing in ads is more profitable now for eCommerce businesses than ever.

20. Apart from Home and Garden, Beauty and Skincare, and Jewelry, CPC has fallen in all eCommerce categories

The demand for jewelry, beauty, and gardening products grew during the pandemic; hence, the ad spending in these categories increased.

Home and Gardening ad spend increased from $2.2 percent in December 2019 to $2.8 percent in March 2020. Jewelry ads grew from $1.6 to $1.8. And beauty products CPC when from $1.7 to $2.1 percent.

21. CPC for Insurance dropped to $15.4 from $17.7 but remained the most expensive eCommerce ad cost

The second position is Online Education, which has an ad cost of $11.2, just a slight drop from $11.6 cost per click. Through the pandemic months, Electronics, Auto dealerships, and Real Estate had no CPC figures changes.

22. Free shipping and its variants dominate eCommerce ad CTAs at 32 percent of all ads

As more people turn to eCommerce stores to fulfill their shopping needs, more sellers are beginning to use “Free Returns,” “Free Shipping,” and “Free Delivery” in their CTAs.

However, CTAs differ across industries.

For example, Home and Garden, as well as Health and Beauty, use “Limited Edition” or such exclusivity CTAs. For Consumer Electronics and Pet, quality ranks high; they use CTAs like “vet recommended,” “factory authorized,” or “trusted since.”

CTAs that induce urgency or novelty work best for Fashion audiences as well as Sports and Outdoors. Of the ads analyzed in this industry, 26 percent of them used “shop new,” “shop latest,” and “new arrivals” in their CTAs.

Post-Pandemic Ecommerce Digital Marketing Trends

The eCommerce world spun off some new trends during the pandemic. Most businesses didn’t anticipate these shifts; hence they couldn’t take advantage of otherwise profitable opportunities.

It’s hard to imagine that a post-pandemic eCommerce will return to normal. Consumers have gotten used to shopping online for everything, including their daily needs. They feel safer and enjoin the convenience of it.

In response to these shifts, businesses will tighten up any loose ends to make online shopping a breeze.

As people become more comfortable shopping online and online education continues to grow, ad spending will return. Expectedly, CPC ads might even become more competitive than its pre-pandemic price points.

Farmers are moving online to sell their produce directly to buyers. Brick-and-mortar stores can’t remain offline. Business is changing forever, and those who prepare for and take advantage of it will profit immensely.

Featured image credits: ArchManStocker/DepositPhotos

22 Digital Marketing Trends Shaping the Ecommerce Landscape in 2020


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