5 digital marketing trends that every e-commerce marketer should watch out for in 2016

5 digital marketing trends that every e-commerce marketer should watch out for in 2016Did you know? Asia Pacific leads the world in terms of the number of retail companies moving to E-commerce, according to a recent study by eMarketer. And that’s particularly true in India where, despite a lower Internet penetration as compared to markets like Australia and Korea, there were an estimated 82.3 million digital buyers in 2015 — making it the No. 3 market for E-commerce in the world.

E-commerce has boomed in India over the past couple of years primarily due to the rise in mobile Internet access and improvements across payment and delivery infrastructures. Another study by Deloitte earlier this year pegged the value of the E-commerce market in India at $16 billion for 2015 - that's a staggering 300% increase from $4 billion in 2010. It is expected that E-commerce in India will grow from today’s’ $16 billion to a $50-$70 billion market by 2020.

With no doubt that E-commerce is going to drive growth for India’s economy, here is Anthony Hearne, Regional Director, SEA, India and New Markets, Outbrain sharing five digital marketing trends that every E-commerce marketer should watch out for in 2016:

#1: 2016 will be the year of mobile E-commerce in India. No REALLY this is the year!!

A surge in the number of smartphones and Internet users is boosting E-commerce, and the rise in content marketing is directly linked to this trend. A recent study conducted by Outbrain shows that Indians are consuming 41% of their content through smartphones, 76% of which is consumed on Android phones.


Thanks to Android-based platforms, even low-income segments are able to afford a smartphone, which acts as the Internet device of choice. Brands are increasingly using content marketing to engage with their audiences on mobile, and convert readers into buyers. As part of this trend, mCommerce will swiftly take over E-commerce with many predicting that by the end of this year more than 50% of total online orders will already come from mobiles instead of desktops. Myntra, a leading Indian fashion retailer, has declared that they will be shifting their marketing efforts from desktop to mobile-only by the end of this year. Another leading Indian E-commerce player, Snapdeal, has experienced a 90% growth in 2015 with 65% of its orders delivered through mobile.

#2: Messaging apps are the next big thing

Messaging apps are the next big thing and their potential impact on the content publishing ecosystem shouldn't be underestimated. In terms of sheer numbers, the world's 4 leading messaging apps now have as many monthly users as the top four social platforms. And they're growing much faster.

Significantly for publishers, messaging apps are used for much more than messaging: users consume and share videos, photos, content and news. And increasingly, they're emerging as platforms for E-commerce. In China, Weixin, the local version of the WeChat app, enables 600 million people each month to book taxis, check-in for flights, play games, bank, make doctors appointments, video conference call. Facebook's Messenger is following suit.

#3: Tier-II & Tier-III cities will drive the highest growth for E-commerce in India
As a result of its growing middle class, India is seeing tier-II and tier-III cities showing strong momentum for E-commerce with an increased demand and appetite. For most e-tailers, 50% of their revenues is already coming from tier-II and tier-III cities.

Various studies have pegged the size of the Indian middle class between 350–400 million people, out of which approximately 100 million people live in tier-II and -III cities like Lucknow, Jaipur, Ludhiana and Gurgaon. According to one of these studies, the highest demand for online retail comes from approximately 4,000-5,000 towns and cities in India, but there is no significant presence of physical retail in almost 95% of these locations due to high real estate costs, which limit organised retail from expanding.

#4: Steady growth in use of videos as a key content format
Brands are investing more and more in video content, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Video engages more of a human being’s senses, and it can be a great vehicle for delivering a message and connecting with an individual in a short amount of time. There has been a phenomenal growth in the use of video content and this is set to continue in 2016, particularly across mobile platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Outbrain. Video allows greater engagement, enjoys lower bounce rates and is able to showcase products in multiple scenarios.

#5: Rise in Content Marketing
Marketers cannot revert back to the historically popular tactics of push marketing. In fact, in 2016 brands will be spending a lot of time creating more relevant and inspiring content than ever before.
Smart E-commerce and well executed Content Marketing complement each other and ensure that there is engagement between brand and consumer at multiple touch points throughout the purchase cycle. It is true that digital as a discipline still forms a relatively small part of overall marketing spend in India and that these are both (rapidly) evolving areas. But, as advertising becomes increasingly targeted and personalized, and brands strive to find better ways to connect with their target audience, Content Marketing will continue to evolve and become the key to their future strategies.