December 2013 proved to be a record breaking month as online sales grew by 19.2%, according to the British Retail Consortium, a UK based trade organization. Ecommerce accounted for 18.6% of all non-food retail sales, compared to 16.5% in December 2012. This is the best number since March 2010.
The biggest beneficiaries of this growth are retailers that have invested in multichannel sales. In other words: the increase in sales is largely a result from webshops that have opened up for online purchases via smartphones and tablets as well. It turns out that the investment of retailers to broaden the numbers of online shopping tools from laptops to other ICT tools has paid off.
Another improvement has to be the delivery and the delivery time. Consumer confidence in the deliveries of goods is essential for the ecommerce sector to grow. David Rimmer, chief operating officer at Rakuten’s Play.com commented: “Shoppers are becoming more and more confident in making online purchases – but only if the retailer’s web offering is strong and secure. Trust for the brand is absolutely paramount, in fact our own research shows that almost 50% of consumers consider reliability to be most important when purchasing online.” Naturally, the competitive prices and the wide variety of goods available online also contribute to the sectors growth, now that nearly 1 in 5 non-food products is bought online.
Ecommerce Europe welcomes the numbers. Companies’ innovative moves to expand online shopping to smart phones and tablets is a desired development. The delivery aspect of online retail is essential and the numbers demonstrate that consumer trust is growing. This is vital for the industry to flourish and in turn to contribute to economic growth in Europe. Cross border delivery still experiences some difficulties and Ecommerce Europe will devote time and energy to ensure that European policy makers are aware of this, especially as 2014 is an election year in Europe.