During the same period, according to eMarketer, receipts at brick-and-mortar stores have contracted by 3.2%. Overall, excluding gas and auto sales, e-commerce will account for 20.6% of all retail sales this year.
The Coronavirus pandemic is credited with this seismic shift in shopping behavior as consumers continue to avoid stores and opt for online shopping.
“We’ve seen e-commerce accelerate in ways that didn’t seem possible last spring, given the extent of the economic crisis,” said Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “While much of the shift has been led by essential categories like grocery, there has been surprising strength in discretionary categories like consumer electronics and home furnishings that benefited from pandemic-driven lifestyle needs.”
Even before the onset of the pandemic, 82.1% of Boston consumers had bought goods online over the prior six months, according to Nielsen research. Purchases included clothing, health & beauty products, travel reservations, books, furniture, and groceries.
During the past week, says Nielsen, 67% of all consumers shopped online. This compares to just 46% pre-pandemic. Most remarkably, just over 1/3 of all digital shoppers last week were brand-new users.
Furthermore, 23% of all consumers now shop online multiple times per week, according to Nielsen.
To successfully compete for online shoppers, Boston small business owners and retailers must build traffic to their own sites. This requires advertising.
By any measure, the best way to reach local online consumers is by advertising on Boston radio.
Last week, for instance, local radio reached significantly more online shoppers than all other local media including, Boston TV, cable, newspaper, or social media.
Local radio's ability to reach online shoppers extends to millennials. This generation now accounts for over 30% of all retail sales in the Boston area.
On average, advertising on Boston radio creates an eight percent lift in website traffic for local businesses, according to Analytic Owl, an advertising attribution company. More than 81% of this increased traffic comes from new visitors.
Most importantly, though, advertising on Boston radio provides budget-conscious business owner with a superior return-on-investment.
A study released last week conducted by Nielsen for CUMULUS | Westwood One indicated that a radio advertising investment between April 30 and May 27 this year delivered a 28-time ROI for a major retailer. In other words, the advertiser earned a $28,000 increase in sales for every $1000 spent.
These findings confirm 21 previous studies by Nielsen, which demonstrate that, on average, radio advertising returns $10,000 in advertising for every $1000 invested. The chart below shows the range of returns from each study.
AdAge, a trade magazine for advertising professionals, calls these types of return "eye-popping". The magazine goes on to say radio's ROI is superior to commercials on TV, online, and social media.
When advertising on Boston radio to reach online shoppers, it is essential that the commercials address the reasons why consumers choose to buy from websites versus local stores. These motivations fall into four categories, according to Nielsen: time, availability, practicality, and value.
Ecommerce was certainly not born out of the pandemic," says Nielsen, "but the pandemic has elevated consumer adoption and reliance in ways that would have otherwise taken years. Consequently, brands and retailers now need to innovate to meet elevated expectations."
More Advertising Advice For Boston Small Business Owners
- Small Business Advertising In Boston: Consumers Ready To Spend
- Advertising ROI In Boston: Television vs. Radio
- AVOD: Four Letters Every Boston Small Business Owners Should Know
- Advertising On Boston Radio Is Back In The Driver's Seat
- Boston Retail Sales Are Growing. Is It Time To Advertise?