Top 5 digital marketplace trends for 2022 that you should know

Online marketplaces are experiencing rapid growth across various sectors, including e-commerce, e-learning, food service, healthcare, FinTech, and insurance. Bringing together vendors with consumers, marketplace solutions allow users to make orders and payments without leaving the system.

Providers of goods and services, in their turn, receive access to a large audience without the need to build their e-commerce websites and launch costly advertising campaigns for customer attraction. With access to numerous goods, competitive prices, and fast delivery, 92% of US online buyers are shopping on e-marketplaces, according to CommerceHub.

By matching organizations and their clients in one place, the owners of an online marketplace platform generate profit through monetization, for instance, a subscription-based or commission strategy. Thanks to this business model, marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, Airbnb, Uber Eats, Upwork, Coursera, Udemy, and Zocdoc gained worldwide recognition.

Aiming to meet changing consumer demand, organizations in different industries focused on digitizing their processes and boosting online presence. The COVID-19 has accelerated this movement, evoking a wave of marketplace startups and contributing to the increased popularity of the existing projects.

In this article, we will consider the main digital marketplace trends for 2022 to discover the best investment opportunities. Let’s get started.

The key digital marketplace trends for 2022

1. Online vertical marketplaces

The fast growth of online vertical marketplaces is among the primary online marketplace trends for 2022. A vertical marketplace belongs to a certain category or industry. For example, AngelList connects startups with angel investors while also helping job seekers to find employment. Houzz is a home renovation and design platform that brings together homeowners and experts enabling customers to find the necessary professionals and make online purchases.

Vertical marketplace development can be an excellent investment opportunity if implementing a project properly: ensuring a seamless user experience, choosing the right monetization strategy, creating an engaging design.

When targeting a specific niche, it is much easier to stand out from competitors and attract the audience, the more so as giants such as horizontal marketplaces Amazon and AliExpress offer a variety of products that align with pretty much every taste and budget. To learn more about the main types of marketplaces, read this article on the topic.

As a result, now the demand for online vertical marketplaces is growing. For instance, an online fashion marketplace Farfetch reported a revenue increase of 43% year-on-year to $523 million in its “Second Quarter 2021 Results”.

A marketplace startup MilkRun that brings together local farmers with restaurants and customers raised $6 million in November 2021. According to eMarketer, the ride hailing sales of Uber are predicted to surpass $35 billion by the end of 2023, up from $14.15 billion in 2020.

2. Personalized recommendations

Personalized service is another important digital marketplace trend for 2022. Evergage and Researchscape International surveyed marketers and revealed that companies experienced various advantages by using personalized recommendations:

  • uplift in business results (90% of respondents)
  • raised conversion rates (61%)
  • increased customer acquisition (56%)
  • enhanced user engagement (59%)
  • better consumer experience (56%)

Many popular e-commerce marketplaces have already provided tailored advice services based on user preferences, for example, Amazon and eBay. With the aim to enable this functionality, it is possible to deploy machine learning or data analytics algorithms that will analyze user activities, for example, search / purchase history, products added to “Favorites, and more. Therefore, a company should turn to a trusted software engineering firm specializing in online marketplace development and data analytics solutions.

3. Marketplace mobile apps

The average US adult spends 3 hours and 43 minutes on their smartphones while most people check their mobile devices 58 times a day. As a result, the number of apps installs is rapidly growing. Sensor Tower informs that first-time application downloads reached 143.6 billion in 2021, a half percentage point higher compared with the previous year. Experts also report that in-app consumer spending increased 19.7% year over year to account for $133 billion.

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a major driver, forcing people to stay at home and use tech devices. Popular activities involve online shopping, food ordering, online booking, digital training, consultation, and payments for various services.

However, while application downloads in verticals like housing and hospitality decreased due to the COVID-19 outbreak, sectors such as education, grocery, and on-demand food delivery saw exponential growth. For example, mobile food app installs hit virtually 170 million in Europe during the first three quarters of 2021, rising by 44% from the same period in 2019. It is worth noting that Uber Eats, Postmates, and Grubhub have seen exponential growth during 2021.

If you want to create an online marketplace like Uber Eats, explore what features you should implement, how much time software development may consume, and what budget you should have.

4. Artificial intelligence chatbots

The rise of artificial intelligence chatbots is among the main digital marketplace trends for 2022. By incorporating an AI-based conversational tool, an online marketplace platform assists vendors in boosting user engagement and increasing sales.

A trained AI bot can replace humans in tasks such as answering frequently asked questions and common inquiries while ensuring client support. Since an AI-enabled chatbot can simultaneously process 24/7 numerous requests, response waiting time can be reduced from hours to seconds.

Employees, in their turn, can focus on more complex operations. As AI bot development does not require a lot of time and money compared to sophisticated software creation, the demand for this solution significantly surged over the past years. AllTheResearch forecasts that the global bot market will climb from $3.2 billion in 2020 to $14.9 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 24.6% during the indicated period.

Analysts confirm that conversational chatbots help organizations achieve excellent results. According to Invesp, businesses can cut down expenses on customer support by 30% thanks to this technology.

Experts at MIT Technology Review discovered that 90% of businesses report faster resolution of complaints as a result of AI bot integration. With the view of gaining a competitive advantage, marketplaces are incorporating chatbots into their apps and websites. Famous online marketplace platforms have already adopted them, for instance, Alibaba, eBay, and Uber.

AliMe, an e-commerce bot used by Alibaba, processes millions of incoming queries per day. During the Double 11 shopping festival that took place in 2017, AliMe managed to respond to 9.04 million requests. Making use of natural language understanding, this tool serves as a shopping guide and personal assistant.

To improve client satisfaction, Uber launched a chatbot that lets users register with one click and book a ride in Facebook Messenger without installing a mobile application. Powered by Uber’s API, the bot allows for easily tracking ride receipts and status updates in a private conversation with Uber.

5. Business-to-business marketplaces

B2B marketplaces are seeing fast growth across multiple domains, including e-commerce, healthcare, FinTech, and insurance. Amazon Business, Thomas, Global Sources, and eWorldTrade are examples of online B2B solutions.

While a business-to-consumer platform is the most popular model at the moment, business-to-business marketplaces offer lower competition. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has become the key driver since 2020 for more online transactions carried out via B2B marketplaces.

Digital Commerce 360 found that around 59% of B2B clients made at least 25% of their corporate purchases on marketplace websites and applications in 2020. Analysts also revealed that 23.5% of B2B customers use online B2B marketplaces to buy 50%-74% of enterprise products and services.

As long as marketplaces contribute to facilitated procurement, automated sales, and optimized order management, the demand for them will continue to increase after the end of coronavirus.

Conclusion

The popularity of online marketplace platforms will continue to rise, since they provide multiple benefits for all stakeholders : customers, vendors, owners, and investors. Before building marketplace software, you should identify the targeted users, involving their issues and preferences.

It is also important to conduct competitor analysis to explore how you can stand out from them. While B2C marketplaces have high competition with giants like AliExpress, eBay, Coursera taking the center stage, making a B2B or a vertical marketplace can be an excellent investment opportunity, especially for aspiring startups.

However, it is possible to find an opportunity even in such popular fields. For instance, you can launch a marketplace targeting a certain audience and then gradually extend the system and enter new markets.

If you are thinking about creating a marketplace website or application, you can contact the team at Arateg. The company has extensive experience in online marketplace development and is ready to provide a project consultation for free.

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