Global ecommerce and marketplace accelerator, Pattern has released its top five predictions on what will shape the Australian e-commerce landscape in 2024.

“The Australian retail landscape will take an evolutionary step-forward over the coming year, driven by changing consumer expectations and the rapid integration of technology in ecommerce,” Pattern Australia general manager, Merline McGregor said.

“Brands must navigate this new terrain with an agile mindset, harnessing the power of AI, social media, and personalised strategies to meet the changing needs of shoppers. It’s not just about selling products; it’s about creating meaningful connections and delivering value in a digital world where change is constant.”

  1. Brands to rethink major sales event strategies

New data released by Pattern in its Cyber Weekend Benchmark Report showed consumer demand for sales peaked earlier with October searches for ‘Black Friday’ increasing by 51% compared to 2022. While overall traffic and revenue picked up from 18 November, it significantly declined following Cyber Monday, with sales dropping 73%.

“The shift in consumer behaviour associated with major sales events has significant implications. Brands extending Black Friday sales risk damaging profit margins and conditioning consumers to expect constant discounts. This competition-driven trend has transformed short-term promotions into prolonged clearance events – which might provide short-term gains but ultimately devalues products and undermines the ability to return to full-price selling. Brands should instead focus on product differentiation and targeting consumers with personalised offers,” McGregor said.

2. Brands will lean on AI to accelerate marketing activity

Over the coming year brands will turn to AI for smarter and faster marketing content creation. Chat GPT (and its rivals) is revolutionising social media and eDM copywriting, while AI tools are stepping up to meet demand for cost effective and quick imagery.

“However, as AI’s role in marketing expands, ethical debates and questions around the quality and uniqueness of AI generated content are being debated. While Google and social platforms do not currently penalise sites for using AI generated content, this could soon change – with other platforms also considering implementing alerts to inform users when they encounter AI-generated material.”

3. Brand research will increasingly occur on social media

Social media platforms will be central to brand research and discovery in 2024, with channels like Instagram and TikTok increasingly being used for pre-purchase research. In 2023 one in three Australians visited a social media network in search of product information – a 7.3% annual increase, and a trend only expected to grow.

“Brands must understand and embrace social media’s role in consumer pre-purchase research. They can do this through collaborating with creators to amplify their voice and blending passive promotion with active engagement. Brands should also identify and nurture the right channels to sell their products. By doing so, they can align with the evolving trends of online shopping, preparing to not just participate, but lead in the digital ecommerce space.”

4. The marketplace sector will mature and evolve

Marketplaces are growing in popularity in Australia, with Pattern’s ‘Marketplace Consumer Trends Report – 2023 revealing that 88% of shoppers bought from a platform like eBay, Amazon or Catch in the past year, and 92% of consumers planned to shop on marketplaces like eBay, Amazon and Catch in 2023.

New market entrants like Temu and Shein are disrupting the status quo and gaining market share. Meanwhile, the rise of Amazon continues in Australia with the platform outperforming all other marketplaces (including eBay for the first time) in 2023.

“In a highly competitive retail environment, brands need to be present where their customers are, which is increasingly on marketplaces like Amazon and now Temu. Marketplaces attract shoppers with convenience and transparency and brands need to ensure that they are present on popular selling platforms and that their presence is optimised and aligned with their overall brand strategy and messaging.”

5. Personalised selling will be transformed, fuelled by data analytics and AI

While personalisation is not new in ecommerce, advancements in data analytics and AI will enable brands to transform targeted marketing and sales activities in 2024.

“To succeed in a highly competitive online sales environment, brands need to ditch outdated promotional activities and embrace advanced, personalised and data-driven strategies. It’s not just about ads or discounts. Brands must dive deep into shopper data and become smarter with how they use their platforms, how they leverage influencer partnerships, and the solutions partners they’re working with, to form genuine, profitable connections with customers,” McGregor said.