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The predictions we’ve all been waiting for are in.

No, not the Oscars predictions. (Though we’re all expecting Everything Everywhere All At Once to take it home, right?)

Even more exciting, Connexity and Skimlinks have released their marketing forecasts for 2023 — including industry changes, fast-growing retailers, and e-commerce events to watch out for.

With these forecasts at their fingertips, publishers and advertisers can better understand how consumer behavior is changing and build their strategies to increase performance and revenue this year.

Here’s what we found.

E-commerce will continue to grow but start to level out

It’s no surprise that e-commerce will continue to increase in 2023, especially since it skyrocketed during the pandemic. As eMarketer predicts, e-commerce sales will move past the $1 trillion mark this year.

Still, that’ll only account for a 9.4% jump in sales from 2022 — the lowest growth rate since 2009. Why? Because new challenges like inflation and supply chain issues have slowed down e-commerce purchases. While shipping congestion should improve come March 2023, eMarketer expects e-commerce sales to stabilize through 2026, when they’ll eventually return to pre-pandemic levels.

Consumers will prioritize m-commerce and re-commerce

Mobile commerce or m-commerce will continue to be a major driver of e-commerce (try saying that 10 times fast!), accounting for 40% of total retail sales and over 61% of digital shopping orders in 2023. That’s why it’s so important for advertisers to make sure their pages are optimized for mobile devices and offer mobile-friendly payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Consumers will also focus on re-commerce (i.e. selling used products) as sustainability and affordability take priority. According to Retail TouchPoints, 65% all shoppers already use a resale or re-commerce service.

On top of that, customers will continue to embrace pandemic-driven shopping behaviors like buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and flexible fulfillment methods. In fact, BOPIS is expected to be a $703 billion global market by 2027.

Gifts, flowers & food will be among fastest-growing retail categories

Certain retail categories saw notable growth between Q3 and Q4 of 2022, and they should continue to drive purchases in 2023.

Gifts, flowers, and food achieved the greatest quarter-over-quarter growth (+325%), fueled by record spend on holiday gifs during Cyber Week. More specifically, shoppers flocked to retailers like Harry & David, Sam’s Club, 1-800-Flowers, Omaha Steaks, and Wine.com.

Other categories including jewelry & watches, toys & games, and babies & kids also enjoyed growth during that time period. Among these verticals, top merchants include Kohl’s, Macy’s, Overstock, Wayfair, and Walmart.

As 2023 progresses, consumers are expected to prioritize essential shopping categories and opt for discount retailers. That means advertisers should focus on offering budget-friendly options and publishers should consider partnering with value-based retailers like Walmart, TJ Maxx, and Five Below.

Q1 e-commerce events will drive purchases across verticals

From January through March, publishers and advertisers will have crucial opportunities to drive e-commerce purchases and reach customers with relevant content.

To help you plan your Q1 strategies, we’ve put together a handy timeline of notable dates and events, including:

  • February 1-28 – Black History Month. Help consumers support Black-owned businesses and brands like Ruby, Ten Wilde, Golde, PetPlate.
  • February 12 – Super Bowl LVII. Publish content about where to stream the Super Bowl, what to expect from halftime, and how to plan a watch party.
  • February 14 – Valentine’s Day. Create roundups of the best gifts for significant others like flowers, chocolate, and loungewear from brands such as Etsy, Nordstrom, Lululemon, and Uncommon Goods.
  • March 8 – International Women’s Day. Build buzz for women-owned brands like Our Place, Andie Swim, Aurate
  • March 13-19 – Sleep Awareness Week. Content related to bedding, mattresses, loungewear, and sleep aids increases in popularity around this time every year. Retailers across the home vertical — like Parachute, Helix, and Nectar — will launch sales.

Strategize for success in 2023

If the last few years have proven anything, it’s that market trends and behaviors can change on a dime. Still, these data-backed forecasts should provide a strong foundation for addressing customer needs and increasing performance in 2023. With these predictions to guide them, publishers and advertisers can build strategies to meet their target audiences across the open web — with everything everywhere all at once.

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