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Some mind blowing numbers

The expected amount of money spent on the Amazon Prime day, coming on October 13/14. Image credit: eMarketer

That e-commerce is growing is no surprise, nor that Amazon is the biggest e-commerce player in the US yet, looking at the expected sales for the coming Prime Day (October 13/14), I cannot help but being amazed by the estimated sales: almost 10 billion $ worldwide and over 6 billion $ in the US. think about it: in just 2 days they make more sales than the largest Italian Telecom Operator  in 6 months.

Also notable is that this figures represent some 50% increase year over year.

Now, if we take a different look, these same figures represent a continuous sharp decrease for other businesses. As a matter of fact mom and pop stores have felt the heat from the big department stores first and then from the e-commerce. Now it is the turn of the big department stores to feel the heat of the e-commerce and the Covid-19 has accelerated the shift towards e-commerce.

Even apparel stores that traditionally have been more resilient (since most people like to wear a dress before buying it) are now facing a crises. The pandemic is, obviously, the main “culprit”: it decreased shopping (-25% in June in the US) and it shifted most of the remaining part to on-line store. As the epidemic will fade away (the sooner the better) we can expect people returning to the brick and mortar, but not all of them. The shift to e-commerce has accelerated and it is here to stay.

Furthermore, having the audience shifted to the cyberspace we are seeing an acceleration technologies that support the cyberspace in terms of perception. I bet that augmented and virtual reality will see a boost in the coming months leading to a much better on-line shopping experience.

There are already companies chasing this market opportunity, like companies providing 3D models of shoes, ready to be used in augmented reality shopping experience. Imagine seeing a shoe on a website and looking at yourself and seeing you wearing that pair of shoes. Yes, i can hear you saying: “one thing is to see how the shoes would look like on me but another thing is how they would feel! What if that pair of shoes once I get them don’t fit? In shoes size is just part of the story!

Well, don’t worry. Take your smartphone and using the ShoeFitter app you can create a 3D model of each one of your feet, with a mm precision. Upload that model and the shoes will be made just for you, for your feet. This is just an example. The new iPad with an embedded Lidar (watch the clip) can take precise 3D scan of objects, and that includes your body. I am sure we will be able to use that 3D model of us to see in virtual and augmented reality how a given dress would look once we wear it and then to use that same model to have the dress manufactured to our body specs! It is a revolution in the making, part of the broader revolution in manufacturing (Industry 4.0). This is one aspect of the digital transformation in the retail space, merging retail and manufacturing, shortening the value chain and creating digital ecosystems.

The expected numbers for Amazon Prime will set a new record in sales, but I am sure it won’t last. Next year on-line sales will be higher ….

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.