Over the past 20 years, e-commerce sales have grown to about 6% of total retail sales. There’s no doubt that digital technology is transforming the retail industry. Digital devices are changing how customers discover, evaluate, purchase, receive, use, and return products. And, yes, more and more customer interactions take place entirely online.
E-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe, with sales in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Spain expected to reach a combined total of £111.2 bn in 2014.
An independent study for 2014-15 has been funded by RetailMeNot Inc., the world's largest digital coupon marketplace sawn:
- In 2013, online retailing in Europe grew by a weighted average of 21.1% to £111.2 bn, but growth should slacken slightly in 2014 to 18.1%.
- The recession has induced many shoppers to buy online rather from traditional stores, whilst above-average growth in countries with smaller ecommerce sectors shows there has been an element of catch up.
- Retail focus on the growing use of mobile technology is an additional factor in making online retailing attractive and convenient.
- US online spending was $268 bn in 2013 and they forecast it will reach $306 bn in 2014, US is still the leader in online retailing compared to Europe. With a similar population to the eight countries surveyed, 54.5% of the US public were e-shoppers compared to 45.6% in Europe.
As before the European online market is dominated by the UK, Germany and France which together are responsible for 81.3% of European sales in these eight countries.
Shopping online with smart phones and tablets
Mobile shopping will represent 13.1% of the online retail spend in 2014 or £19.78 bn. In the US, mobile shopping is growing even faster and should grow by 65.1% to account for 19.9% of online spending in 2014 (£37.66bn or $61.06bn). Of this 40.0% will be tablet sales and 60.0% on smartphones.
Effect on traditional stores
The growth of online sales at such a rate will inevitably reduce the market for traditional shops. By the time that online sales represent 5% or more of domestic retailing then the continued growth of online retailers will occur at the expense of conventional stores. In Europe as a whole, online retailers are expanding 11.9 times faster than conventional outlets, although 'only' 5.6 times in the UK and 3.3.times in the US.