Online Retailing - UK - July 2016
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“We tend to lose sight of the fact that online retailing is still very young. Ten years ago it took less than 3% of all retail sales. Everyone involved has been on a very sharp learning curve and the rise in online sales seems inexorable. But it isn’t. We think that the need to spend heavily on marketing to attract visitors will ultimately limit the potential for the pure players, while to make a distinction between online and in-store sales for store based retailers is ultimately artificial. There are developments which will perhaps add to the growth potential of the pure players, such as in social media. But we do not think that online retailers can undercut the high street on price and customers are slowly coming to realise that. Stores and online have different strengths and consumer will choose which one suits them best for each purchase. But we also think that the most powerful option going forward is stores plus online and that any retailer which tries to do without one of the other is putting itself at a disadvantage.”
– Richard Perks, Director of Retail Research
This report discusses the following key topics:
Online is growing fast, but to treat online retailing as a single homogeneous channel of distribution would be misleading. This report puts online in context. It shows the difference of between store based retailers and pure players and it argues that online is now fully integrated into the way that people shop. But it also makes the point that online is still very young – it is only in the last ten years that most people have started buying online and both consumers and retailers are, to some extent, still feeling their way.
Online is maturing, not just in the sense of market share, but in recognition of what its strengths and weaknesses are. For example, we think that it is no longer possible to expect to generate growth by undercutting stores. Pure player online retailers need to focus on their breadth or range and the convenience of shopping from them. Store based retailers can make online and bricks and mortar stores work together if they focus on everything that makes shopping in store attractive – such as being able to try out / try on the merchandise, retail theatre and service by knowledgeable staff. Stores and online complement each other and consumers will choose the one that suits them best at the time.
This report is designed to give an overview of the UK online retail market. We look at all online sales, both from store based retailers and those that only trade online. We include an overview of the market including forecasts for the way the market will develop, in-depth consumer analysis using our own data and a look at the key players in the market in the form of our company profiles.
For our consumer research this year we asked questions on the following topics:
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