Cashless revolution to influence and disrupt retail: Amazon

24 Nov 2021

Online retail giant Amazon has said the cashless revolution and a new generation of consumers will form the future of the retail industry. According to Amazon’s vice president for global innovation policy and communication, Paul Misener, when consumer behaviour alters “in a meaningful way,” they become campaigners for change, reports The National. The numbers speak for themselves. The global retail industry has grown exponentially, with trends being influenced by consumer demand and behaviour. Worldwide e-commerce sales are forecast to reach $6.39 trillion in 2024, a rise of almost a third from this year’s expected $4.89 trillion, and close to a 400% rise from $1.33 trillion 10 years ago, says data from Statista.


Trends by age

The global trend has been majorly impacted by millennials – people born between 1981 and 1996 – as the generation with the most digital buyers. According to content platform Power Reviews, 85.9% make online purchases. In addition, millennials tend to consult ratings and reviews to make informed decisions; 99.9% read reviews whilst online shopping; and 63% do so when making an in-store purchase. Amazon’s vice president for global innovation policy and communication stated: “In the early days it was novel to put your card information online. It was even a big deal in the countries that adopted the internet early. This is a generational thing; today, young people entering the ranks of consumers are very comfortable with cashless payments, and it's not an impediment any more for the industry to grow because young people are encouraging others.” In addition, Generation Z – people born between 1997 and 2021 – have an estimated $323 billion spending power, according to a CGS business app platform report. Around 67% of older generations depend on sites such as Amazon, whilst just 37% of Generation Z used the platform. “The future of retail is meeting consumer demand not only for a great selection of products and services available but also for a greater quality of delivery. Consumers are going to be increasingly picky about how they shop and level of service they expect,” Misener added.


The Covid effect

Amazon spent around $800 million on implementing coronavirus-related safety measures when the pandemic first hit in 2020, along with many other businesses across the globe. “It taught us to innovate the same way we had to innovate all the time, but we weren't prepared for it just like everyone else. We found ourselves in a place where we had to act very fast to protect not only our employees but also our customers. We've been perfecting safety for over 20 years, but not for a virus,” Misener said.