Kleiner Perkins venture partner Mary Meeker released her annual Internet Trends report on Wednesday. In total, the report comprises 355 PowerPoint slides and covers online trends in sectors ranging from media and healthcare to China and India. Here we look at key trends in retail and e-commerce:
1. A withering brick-and-mortar landscape as Amazon/e-commerce grows. Amazon in particular is proving to be a formidable foe, inflicting deep wounds on brick-and-mortar retail chains. “Store closings may break a 20-year record” according to a 2017 estimate by Credit Suisse (slide 72). That report estimates that more than 8,600 brick-and-mortar stores may close in 2017. “Barely a quarter into 2017, year-to-date retail store closings have already surpassed those of 2008,” according to Credit Suisse. Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Bebe, Staples and nearly a dozen other retailers have announced store closings.
Online sales grew again in 2016, rising 15 percent year over year (slide 76). Parcel deliveries in the US have been steadily increasing over the past six years and rose 9 percent year over year in 2016 (slide 65).
2. Walmart is sprinting to catch up online. The brick-and-mortar behemoth Walmart, which has had relatively lackluster impact online despite past investments, rapidly accelerated its e-commerce efforts this past year. It acquired Jet.com in August 2016, and already this year it has bought or invested in Shoebuy, JD.com, Moosejaw and Modcloth.com. Walmart’s e-commerce revenue grew 63 percent year over year last quarter. (slide 74)
3. The new retail is mobile-informed. Retail isn’t dead-dead, it’s just evolving. Meeker points to Warby Parker (slide 73), Lowe’s augmented-reality experiment with Google to help consumers locate items in-store (slide 70), and Amazon itself opening up self-checkout retail stores (slide 72) as examples of ways retail is evolving to meet the needs and expectations of mobile-enabled consumers.
4. Retailers are taking advantage of online-offline feedback loops. Other examples of hybrid online-offline commerce experiences include MM.LaFleur, which offers both online and in-store personal shopping advice (slide 63) and incorporates that information back into its bento-box-style e-commerce operation, and shirt retailer UNTUCKit, which incorporates online and offline feedback into its brand experiences (slide 60).
5. Location-driven advertising is becoming more targeted & accountable. Location-targeted ads from Google (slide 25), Nextdoor and xAd (slide 29) and Uber’s in-app ads powered by Foursquare (slide 28) are examples of how ad delivery and the ability to track outcomes are changing the dynamic between online marketing and offline commerce. Google has tracked more than 5 billion in-store visits globally, and just last week introduced its store purchases tracking solution to link ad clicks to physical transactions.
Check out the full report for more insights. The focus on digital advertising begins on slide 10.