Verizon’s data finds holiday shopping surging early this year and confirms how COVID-19 restrictions and concerns could be linked to an increase in online shopping this holiday season.
According to the Verizon Business Retail Trends Report, online retailers are booming. A sampling of traffic to 20 of the top 100 retailers, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), comparing the first week of November 2019 to the first week of November 2020, shows an 82% increase in data traffic for the first week of November year-over-year.
Separately, according to Verizon’s latest network data report, mobility traffic to and around the U.S.’s largest malls has decreased dramatically from last year.
According to Verizon’s data handoff metrics comparing the first week of November 2019 to the first week of November 2020 (the times when a data session moves from one cell site to another as users walk or drive around):
• People are moving to and around malls 20% less than they did last year during early November.
• People are moving to and around malls 59% more than they were when pandemic restrictions were at their peak in April of 2020.
• 28% increase in use on payment sites versus last year.
“Our report confirms what we expected to be true, significant shifts continue from in-person, brick and mortar shopping to online shopping,” said Michele Dupre, VP of Sales Vertical Markets, Retail and Hospitality for Verizon Business.
“What’s surprising and promising for retail stores is while mobility around U.S. malls is down from last year, it’s up significantly at 59% since the height of the pandemic.
“Online retailers will need to continue to invest in creative and innovative customer experiences, to capture revenue and offset lost sales from in-person shopping.”
Retail patterns and habits have changed throughout the years due to the availability and sophistication of online retailing.
With the advent of 5G technology and Mobile Edge Compute, Verizon is exploring the continued evolution of the retail industry as retailers seek next-gen technology to drive sales and improve customer interaction including:
• Holograms – Using holograms as emotive, life-like digital customer service representatives to play a part in company/store communications and advertising.
• Augmented reality – Gaining essentially instant access to product information for consumers through an augmented reality (AR) application on their smartphone or other compatible device.
• Creating Virtual Reality (VR)-powered dressing rooms – Allowing customers to try on clothing from their homes.
• Virtual Reality – Providing the ability for consumers to shop on-the-go using AR and VR experiences that offer detailed product visualization.
• Foot Traffic Analysis – Providing the ability to analyze foot traffic and areas in which shoppers linger in physical retail locations in real-time to enable dynamic floor plans and displays that maximize the positioning of products.
• Expanding computer vision and sensors – Allowing brick-and-mortar stores to digitally process and track inventory in real time.
• Creating rich digital signage for retail environments – Providing updates in real-time.
• Using real-time data processing – Maximizing efficiency from point-of-sale to product delivery.
Michelle Dupre added; “To survive and grow in these rapidly changing times, it’s essential for retailers to embrace new ways of interacting with their customers and driving their operations.
“We are working with retailers to push the boundaries of what’s possible using the power of Verizon’s 5G network, which will shape the future and the way we do business.”