5G & eCommerce: What to Expect in 2021
The World Economic Forum has stated that we are on “the brink” of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
This transformation will be unlike anything that we’ve experienced. There will be unlimited, readily available internet access, almost humanlike AI, and we’ll use technological devices that we once thought were not possible.
But a lot of this transformation relies on the introduction of 5G technology. And in this article, we’ll take a look at how 5G will change an everyday necessity, commerce.
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology that is set to become the fastest network. Currently, in its trial stages, several mobile network operators including Verizon and Vodafone have vowed to invest in 5G and upgrade their existing networks in preparation for transitioning to 5G.
When will 5G be available?
That said, at this time of writing, Verizon has claimed they have launched the world’s first commercial 5G network back in October 2018. They began signing up customers in four major US cities to their 5G Home service, with services expected to be available in 2019.
While you may think 4G is already fast enough, given the speed that we can access vast amounts of data at our fingertips, the introduction of 5G will represent a huge leap forward.
How fast will 5G be?
According to the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance, for something to be considered as 5G, it must provide a minimum of 1 gigabit per second to tens of workers on the same office floor. For users in the tens of thousands, it must deliver a data rate in the range of tens of megabits per second.
Some might argue that this sounds a little vague, but I’d like to think it is quite promising. Other estimates, as mentioned by 5G.co.uk, have predicted that 5G downloads will be 1000 times faster than its predecessor, potentially exceeding 10Gbps. With that kind of speed, you could download a 4K film in a matter of seconds. Although other estimates are a bit more conservative, and probably more realistic, and say that 5G will be several dozens faster than 4G.
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Will 5G have lower latency than 4G?
Network latency refers to how long it takes for a network to respond to a request. It is the rotating circle that you see when you’re waiting for your YouTube video or song to load up on your browser. Whenever you submit a request, it needs a response from the server before it starts to load.
With 4G, according to research by Ofcom, the response time is roughly between 15 to 60 milliseconds. The theorized latency of 5G is just 1 millisecond. That’s hardly noticeable!
How will 5G change eCommerce?
It has been predicted that that by 2021, global eCommerce would increase to $4.8 billion, a huge jump from the $2.3 billion revenue amounted in 2017. And we strongly believe that this growth is linked with the nearing introduction of 5G.
Another prediction that is associated with 5G is the sheer number of people that will be connected. A report by SingularityHub forecasted there will be 8 billion people online by 2024. When we compare this figure with how many people were connected in 2017, that’s an increase of 4.2 billion.
Besides these findings, let us take a look at other aspects that 5G would change commerce permanently.
1. More customers, more revenue
A recent Adobe Digital Insights report claims that 5G will boost eCommerce revenue by $12billion by 2021, so long as the rollout goes to plan for major telecommunication companies.
The maths is simple; 5G will make the internet more accessible, and an even smoother ride for those on mobile devices. That translates into more potential customers browsing online, with faster websites and apps to serve them in record times.
2. More brands will use VR and AR
Besides eCommerce and the number of people becoming connected, another area that will see a sharp rise, again thanks to 5G, is the global virtual reality and augmented reality market, which is predicted to be worth $80 billion by 2025, as stated by Goldman Sachs.
(IKEA VR experience | Source)
We’ve already seen how IKEA has benefitted from VR with they piloted their first VR campaign back in April 2016. But more recently, the world’s favorite Swedish furniture store launched an online VR store in Australia which allows customers to browse through furnishing products in comfort of their own home via mobile VR headset.
With the ultra-fast speeds of 5G, VR experiences will be smoother, and the frustrating buffering and lags will be a thing of the past. Whatsmore, 5G will also improve the quality of VR content. In Japan, telecommunication firm, NTT DoCoMo, has successfully trialed a live streaming of 8K video with a 5G Nokia device.
3. Better AI learning capabilities
(H&M chatbot on KIK Messenger | Source)
AI tools like chatbots and virtual personal assistants already improve customer service in the retail sector by answering frequently asked questions and providing recommendations. Clothing retailer H&M has a chatbot that delivers apparel suggestions based on the consumer’s preference.
With 5G, customers can connect and download information from these AI assistants at lightning speeds. Since speed is paramount to successful customer experience, retailers will benefit as more consumers will use these tools allowing them to get more data so they can deliver personalized recommendations.
4. And let’s not forget about smart wearables
Another sector that will experience a welcoming boom is the smart wearable technology market. Tractica predicts that sales in smart wearables will increase to $95.3 billion in 2021. 5G promises a new avenue in smart wearables bringing high-speed data transfers at ultra-low latencies.
Retailers can take advantage of this technological space using 5G by sending consumers push-notifications with personalized information which will help to increase sales.
Prepare for 5G, now
The advent of 5G will drastically change how we operate IoT devices of both today and the future. Brands must have the foundations in place to meet these new demands which 5G technology will bring, which is more personalization, faster speeds, and greater internet accessibility.
This is why it is imperative for brands to invest in a headless CMS which can deliver highly relevant experiences to any device, including smart wearables and VR/AR.
Core dna is a decoupled headless CMS that’s built for both content and commerce. It comes with over 80 pre-built applications to help you develop websites, apps and shopping experiences across channels, and deliver content to any device—helping you make the transition from 4G to 5G when the time comes.