LONDON — 31 July 2018 — Over the next five years, online sales will drive almost half of retail growth in Western Europe. Italy and Spain will see the fastest online sales growth. By 2023, 21% of non-grocery retail sales will be online, up from 13% in 2017. Grocery will be one of the fastest-growing online retail categories.
This promising outlook emerges from a new forecast released today by Forrester. The analysis details growth for 22 product categories across 17 countries in Western Europe, with historical online category sales going back to 2002. “We are seeing an increasing consumer confidence that is driving retail sales growth,” says Principal Forecast Analyst Michael O’Grady. “In 2017, the European Union economy grew at its fastest pace in a decade. Western European retail sales will grow by 2.8% in 2018. In addition to the consumer confidence, employment rates haven’t been seen so high since the 2008 banking crisis. As expected, online is playing an ever-increasing role in the mix.”
Online-only retailers grew their sales faster than the online retail market, as they drive much of their sales from marketplaces.
“Marketplaces help consumers to research and buy products but also provide payment and fulfillment services to retailers to allow them to expand both domestically and internationally,” explains O’Grady. “Amazon continues to grow faster than the online retail markets across much of Western Europe. We are also seeing AliExpress grow its presence in Europe, most notably in Spain and Italy.”
Forrester expects that more and more retailers will partner with and sell through marketplaces in the future as the boundaries between physical retail stores and marketplaces start to blur.
Meanwhile, many brick-and-mortar retailers, notably in the UK, saw online sales grow and offline sales contract. One-third of UK non-grocery retailing will be online by 2023.
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