E-commerce continues to gain traction in the UK and currently the segment accounts for 13% of domestic retail sales. Fuelled by the growing use of digital devices, which is even yet to expand, online retail is predicted to make up a third of the country’s retail market by 2022, according to a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the results of which I found in an article from the Financial Times.
The uptrend in e-commerce will be to the detriment of traditional retailers, which will become “little more than showrooms” going forward. Still, they will remain a preferred stop for consumers, where people can see, touch and check out goods even if they plan to buy the item from a different vendor, EIU’s chief retail analyst Jon Copestake commented.
The growth of e-commerce will be mainly driven by mobile and social media outlets, which are starting to have a strong impact on consumers’ buying decisions. Those brick-and-mortar stores wishing to stay afloat will need to quickly adapt to the changing environment and optimise their online outlets.
EIU also forecasted that the “showrooming” trend – where consumers see a product in a physical store only to purchase it later online – will be a dominating trait of the future retail sector, with the function of physical stores as a channel for consumers to try out goods becoming even more vivid. In-store retailers will try to at least make use of this trend and will use it as a means to boost brand visibility and reputation for service, the report said.