A Fast and Bumpy Ride Ahead for Digital Commerce and Marketing in 2018

For 2018 we are predicting eight key trends we believe present exciting opportunities and challenges for retailers, brands, and marketers.
Updated on May 8, 2024

For four years now, we’ve been publishing our Digital Marketing and Commerce Outlook report with predictions and key trends we anticipate in the coming year. For this year, we are predicting eight key trends we believe present exciting opportunities and challenges for retailers, brands, and marketers.

Here’s what we see on the horizon in 2018:

(Read more: Criteo’s Predictions for 2017 – And How They Look, One Year Later)

Exciting growth opportunities for video and voice

Both video and voice present exciting opportunities this year. Video will attract an increasing share of ad spend as all major players including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are prioritizing video on their properties. A recent survey of 50 senior ad buyers by Cowen found that 41% considered Facebook video the best place for launching a new ad campaign, compared to only 25% for TV.

Voice is enabling shopping transactions, and this trend will pick up quickly with the increasing proliferation of smart speakers and rising competition between Amazon and Google. According to a study from RBC Capital Markets, Amazon will raise $10-$11 billion in additional revenues from Alexa device sales and voice-driven shopping in 2020. As shopping activity picks up on smart speakers, so will efforts to use these devices for personalized marketing.

(Learn more: How Machine Learning Powers Video Ads)

Meeting the GDPR Challenge and high regulatory oversight

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on May 25, 2018. Most digital marketing and technology companies seem to have already taken necessary steps to comply with GDPR, but many retailers and brands aren’t fully prepared yet.

The 2017 Data Threat Report from Thales found that two in five retailers have experienced at least one instance of a data breach in the past year.

Many analysts are also predicting a certain degree of “techlash” against Amazon, Facebook and Google this year and calls for tougher laws on these tech quasi-monopolies.

(Read more: GDPR: Criteo is Ready for the Journey)

Data pooling: Individually a drop but together an ocean   

Our Forbes Insights report found that retailers and brands are concerned about the impact of walled gardens on customer data. In fact, most see considerable limitations of keeping data within walled gardens and have concerns about the risks of misuse of data and privacy violations. This year, a key trend will be increased instances of collaboration amongst retailers, brands and technology companies when it comes to pooling non-personally identifiable information.

Following the major retail acquisitions from Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba, and others in 2017, we expect more such announcements this year, particularly in mar-tech and social. All big stakeholders are considering strategic acquisitions to ramp-up their audience reach, and their data, analytics and digital marketing capabilities.

All in all, this year promises plenty of innovation and change on the horizon in ad spending, online shopping, retail investments, data partnerships, acquisitions, and regulations. Read our Commerce and Digital Marketing Outlook 2018 below!


Shailendra Pandey

Shailendra is a Principal Research Manager at Criteo and manages major research projects producing thought-leadership content in collaboration with leading research partners.

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