A report, recently published by E-commerce Foundation, highlighted quite a few trends worth being mentioned. In a nutshell, European e-commerce is growing, but at a slower pace than a few years ago, reflecting general European business trends. Notably, the researchers expect EU e-commerce turnover to grow by 12% YoY, the smallest increase over the last 6 years as showed in the figure below.
Meanwhile, some segments and especially countries have lots of potential to be unlocked. 10 fastest growing European e-commerce markets reports an average 20% YoY increase in sales with Ukraine on top of that list, showing a fascinating 35% takeoff.
The largest volume of sales is still generated by the UK, accounting for 35% of total European e-commerce turnover. However, quite a few categories are oversaturated. A survey, conducted by Lightspeed GMI/Mintel in April 2016 shows that more than 60% of customers have no plans to buy any of the popular items in the tech category (smartphones, laptops, TV, tablets or desktop computers). The following figure based on the survey data also shows the plans to purchase/upgrade consumer technology products, by timescale (April 2016):
Taking into consideration all the above, e-commerce companies should think strategically in order to secure positive growth over the next several years. Four main areas of e-commerce growth include:
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#1 Expansion overseas, establishing cross-border sales
“In 2015, 16% of all individuals in the EU28 purchased goods and/or services through the Internet from sellers outside their country of residence, but within the EU28. This is an increase of 33% compared to 2013. Popular reasons for shopping abroad were more competitive prices and a wider offering of goods and services available.”
Ecommerce Europe report, 2016
“Cross-border in e-commerce is expected to grow 27% each year, to more than €1 trillion by 2020.”
Renaud Marlière, Asend
#2 Building seamless omnichannel experience
“Taking a look at the UK and Germany, we see that more than 65% of shoppers aged 21 or younger prefer to have both a physical and an online experience. Consumers expect shopping to be convenient, and expectations are still rising: 40% are looking for even easier shopping across on- and offline channels, 41% expect improved customer service, 45% want an improved delivery service, and 46% ask for easier returns and refunds.”
Markus Tuschl, GFK
For further reference, you may find helpful this presentation:
“Seamless engagement, regardless of channel. Let the customer start their purchase online but finish in the store, or vice versa.”
Pieter Van den Broecke, Manhattan Associates
#3 Data-driven marketing approach
Crunching numbers in marketing acquisition, multichannel attribution, leveraging the full potential of Doubleclick, triggered emails & push notifications, YouTube and mobile ads, remarketing campaigns can help e-commerce businesses unleash the full power of data-driven marketing campaigns.
#4 Piggybacking on mobile e-commerce rise
Euromonitor International reveals data on how many people will possess different kinds of digital devices in 2013.
The following figure shows how many Internet-connected users buy at least weekly with their mobile phone:
As we can see, European e-commerce market is a challenging one, however, it provides great strategic opportunities in various areas, allowing the fastest and the most endeavoring companies to outperform the competition.