Three 2020 Shopping Trends Changing the Face of Retail


2020 was a unique year for many reasons, but for business owners and consumers, it was an accelerated evolution of trends we’ve already seen for a few years now. Online shopping and contactless payments were the biggest winners of 2020, with each seeing exponential growth over the previous few years of data. Small businesses however were slow to adapt, and thus saw their bottom line affected in a major way.

Click, click, click, buy.

Online shopping has been around for close to two decades, but only in the last few years, with retailers like Amazon, has it become almost the de facto way to purchase goods and services. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Americans to shelter in place and to make more purchases online that ever before. Sixty-three percent of Americans purchased goods online that they had previously always made in person. Commodities like groceries and home goods saw the biggest jump in online orders, with restaurants and home-based services, like plumbers and other contractors, seeing a large growth as well. However, don’t discount the power of brick-and-mortar stores. While online retail grew, so did a slew of a traditional retail establishments. With more consumers staying home, many found themselves looking for ways to be active and get out of the house. Bicycle shops saw an extraordinary explosion of business as a result. To add online payments as an option, SwipeSimple and PayHub+ offer online payment methods from direct payment links to shopping cart integrations with popular services like Shopify.

NFC Payments or No Finger Contact Payments

On the heels of online shopping, digital payment services like Apple Pay and Android Pay saw the biggest benefit from a pandemic, contactless payments solutions. NFC payments, or Near-Field-Communication payments, is a technology where you can tap and pay either from an NFC enabled card or mobile device. Mobile devices offer an additional layer of protection for consumers where it requires a biometric authorization before the payment can be processed, making it very popular for consumers worried about fraud. In April of 2020, digital payments saw a huge 25% increase in use immediately following the start of the pandemic.

As a result, cash payments are on the decline. ATM’s saw a decline of about 25% last year. Compare that with data from 2018 where about 30% of consumers still preferred cash, in 2019 that dropped to 25%. Early figures for 2021 are showing a continued decline in cash payments. Merchants that are looking for a contactless payment terminal or POS should turn to PayLo. PayLo offers a great suite of products that allow for more secure and faster payments digitally.

Shopping Small is Shrinking

Despite large movements of consumers advocating for shopping small, many small businesses found themselves struggling to the point of closure last year. The biggest contributing factor is technology, or lack thereof. Competing with big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target, with dedicated apps where you can buy almost anything, small businesses still struggle to establish an online presence. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Merchant advocates can guide their merchants to use services like SwipeSimple or PayHub+ that allow for online payments.  Combined with PayLo, merchants can also save money on processing costs to increase their bottom line. Learn more about being a merchant advocate here.

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