Although 91% of retail sales in EU7 were offline in 2014, online presence is critical to retailer success, as nongrocery web-influenced sales were three times larger than online sales. EU7 includes the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Sweden. A soon-to-be-published report, Forrester Research Web-Influenced Retail Sales Forecast, 2015 To 2020 (EU-7), shows why the majority of nongrocery offline retail sales will be influenced by the Internet as early as 2017; why this influence is dependent on country, category, and consumer age and gender; and why a consistent consumer experience across all multichannel touchpoints is critical for retailer success.

How consumers are influenced by the Web depends on many factors:

  • Online behaviors. Price and consumer ratings are the most important online factors influencing retail sales. Online behaviors are more embedded than ever into the consumer purchase journey, as online buyers and online spend per buyer continue to grow in Western Europe. Offline populations continue to decrease, although at different rates across Europe: almost a third of Italians and a fifth of Spaniards are still not online.
  • Who we are.Young consumers from mature, sophisticated online retail markets with good broadband access across multiple devices are more likely to be influenced by the Web. Smartphones play a large role in influencing online and offline retail sales; the majority of mobile Internet users aged 16 to 24 use their phone in-store to research information.
  • What we are buying.Digital products sales are highly influenced by the Web. Consumers are less likely to use the Internet to research products for regular purchase categories (for corner-shop items like food and drink); for impulse-buy categories with high immediacy (like flowers or greeting cards); and for must-see-before-buy categories (like jewelry, cosmetics, DIY, and home improvement). Our forecast shows that web influence is growing across all categories, with many of the must-see-before-buy categories having the fastest growth.

Our forecasts integrate these changes to consumer behaviors. To learn how our forecasts can help you with your investment decisions, read our ForecastView overview