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Influence of e-commerce expected to rise

25 May 2018 - 10:49 by David Aiken

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The retail market throughout Europe will continue to be shaped by the growth of safe shopping online, not just in terms of sales but as a result of the power it holds over consumers as a tool for research.

This is according to a new study from Forrester which suggests that by 2021 an estimated €1 trillion (£877 billion) in sales will either originate online or be determined through some form of e-commerce channel.

This includes more than £670 billion in sales made at bricks and mortar stores that are influenced by digital platforms.

Close to three quarters of consumers across the continent already carry out safe shopping online and make use of e-commerce sites to look up product info before committing to a purchase.

Furthermore, the scope of digital platforms will continue to expand thanks largely to the power of portable devices, with smartphones and tablets causing a change in shopping habits both in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

Smartphones in particular are set to double the amount of influence they wield over buying decisions within the course of the next five years, according to study spokesperson, Satish Meena.

Analysts are also expecting that market leader Amazon will become even more prominent in the retail industry, especially since it is now shifting its attention to optimising voice search through its Alexa assistant and the Echo range of smart speakers.

By making it possible for customers to order items online just by asking for them out loud, it is breaking down many of the barriers which have held back e-commerce services in the past. This in turn will mean that other brands will be eager to advertise with Amazon and piggyback on its continued ascent between now and the start of the next decade.