Showrooming drives online sales in Europe

Retailers are increasingly reconfiguring their physical stores to support the multichannel shopper. Our Forrester Data: Showrooming Forecast, 2016 to 2021(EU-7) shows that three-quarters of EU-7 online sales, worth 126 billion euros in 2015 are impacted by offline research. Reverse-showrooming, where shoppers buy at a physical store following online research, is even more commonplace. Price is the overriding factor that drives showrooming behaviour. Our report analyses the factors that contribute to offline influence and its implications for multi-channel retailers:

  • Offline influence dominates the retail landscape. In 2015, more than 95% of retail sales in EU-7 either occurred offline or occurred online and were influenced by offline research. This figure is more than double the share of sales that occurred online or that occurred offline and were influenced by online research.
  • Declining foot traffic and high-street spending threatens in-store influence. In-store visits and sales advice from an in-store sales associate are key drivers of offline influence. In 2015, foot traffic in physical stores fell across UK, Germany and France and visits to UK high-street stores declined.
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Online Cross-Border B2C Sales Will More Than Double In The Next Five Years, Globally

Forrester Data has just released its first global cross-border online retail forecast covering 29 countries worldwide, helping retailers understand the size and growth of the online cross-border market by country and region and identify the region-to-region flow of trade. Cross-border online B2C sales will more than double in the next five years to reach $424 billion in 2021, as consumers find online cross-border shopping easier, faster, and more convenient:

  • Cross-border shoppers in developing markets are increasing significantly. Metropolitan China in particular saw a large jump in its share of online buyers shopping across borders in 2015. Online cross-border buyer growth is strongest in developing economies: Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East will see double-digit compound annual growth over the next five years — significantly more than the growth in Europe and North America.
  • Marketplaces are increasing their share of cross-border sales. Cross-border shoppers prefer to use global marketplaces when they shop abroad. Alibaba increased its share of online sales from outside China. Online marketplace Rakuten reported 41% growth in cross-border sales in 2015, more than twice the growth of the domestic Japanese eCommerce market. In Germany, France, and the UK, more than half of cross-border buyers buy from Amazon and eBay. Amazon merchants’ cross-border sales doubled in 2014.
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Holiday Shopping Moves Online — In Both Western Europe And The US

In Western Europe, November and December account for a fifth of annual retail sales. However, consumers aren’t spending more over the holiday period; they are just shifting their spending earlier in the shopping season. Forrester expects European online sales over the holiday period to grow 12.5% compared to 2014. In the UK, heavy discounting, notably as a result of Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, has a huge impact on holiday shopping.

  • Holiday spending is of critical importance to retailers. In 2014, Amazon traded one-third of its retail sales in the last three months of the year. And in the UK, 19% of annual retail sales happen in the six-week run-up to Christmas. Consumers spend more online during the holiday period and buy from more retail categories than they do during the rest of the year. Toys, jewelry, perfume, and videos are among the most popular categories bought online.
  • UK retailers embrace Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The majority of UK retailers participated in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in 2014. In fact, nearly one-fifth of all online sales in the eight weeks leading up to December 27, 2014 happened in the week of Black Friday. And for UK retailer John Lewis, its sales in Black Friday week overtook its sales in Christmas week.
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Five Ways To Invest In The Future Of Online Retail

Forrester’s retail forecasts chart how the changing nature of consumer behavior will have an impact on online and offline retail sales over the next five years. During a recent webinar, Forrester detailed five key trends that the forecasts have revealed:

  • Worldwide online retail sales are growing and varied. Asia Pacific is the world’s largest online market; it’s more than twice the size of North America. But online retail in India and China is very different. When considering your online investments, you must take into account not just retail market size but also supply (like organized retail), consumer demand, and infrastructure maturity.
  • Online buyers are spending more and in more categories. In mature markets like the US, online growth is coming from existing buyers spending more online. The typical online buyer has doubled the number of categories from which they buy online over the past five years.
  • Web-influenced sales are greater than online sales. In Western Europe, the Web will influence 45% of offline sales by 2020. Although 93% of retail sales in Western Europe were offline in 2014, an online presence is critical to retailer success — as web-influenced sales were more than three times larger than online sales.
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45% Of Offline Retail Sales Will Be Web-Influenced By 2020

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.
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Western European Consumers Spent €26 Billion In Online Cross-Border Trade In 2014

Western Europe is one of the largest online markets for cross-border trade: In 2014, Western consumers spent €26 billion on cross-border trade, representing 17% of eCommerce sales in Western Europe. Our recently published Forrester Research Online Cross-Border Retail Forecast, 2013 To 2018 (Western Europe) shows that cross-border trade depends on sales flowing into a country from domestic cross-border purchases and sales flowing out of a country from nondomestic shoppers. Cross-border trade gives retailers an opportunity to expand outside of their domestic markets with minimum upfront investment. To succeed, retailers must understand the cross-border shopper and how to compete internationally.

Online cross-border shoppers:

  • Are looking for the best price. Price-sensitive online shoppers drive cross-border sales. The price of domestic goods in countries like Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Ireland make the consumer more likely to shop cross-border to find a bargain.
  • Are looking for the best choice. The consumer choice offered by large online retail markets in countries like the UK, France, and Germany make the consumer less likely to shop outside of their domestic market.
  • Spend more online, have higher incomes, and are younger than domestic shoppers. Retailers need to know the types of categories bought online to better target the cross-border shopper.
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Online Display Ads Will Account For More Than 12% Of Advertising Spend In Western Europe By 2019


With 44% of all retail sales in Europe set to be offline sales that are influenced by the Web in 2018, it's not surprising that online display advertising spend in Europe will grow more than three times faster than total advertising spend over the next five years. Forrester's Online Display Advertising Forecast  shows that online display advertising will continue to cannibalize advertising spend via other channels.

Firms are increasingly using video and rich media to engage, entertain, and attract the attention of online users and to enrich their brand storytelling. The growth of mobile device adoption and usage is also changing the way that users consume content:

1.Video: Google recently stated that video had entered a fourth dimension, incorporating sight, sound, motion, and interactivity to win the hearts and minds of video viewers. With more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, Google has created YouTubeNation to curate video content and grow video audiences, especially among those ages 18 to 30.

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29% Of Online Ad Spend In The US Will Be From Mobile By 2018

Mobile ad spending is finally taking off. The Forrester Research Mobile Advertising Forecast, 2013 To 2018 (US) predicts that mobile ad spend (smartphones plus tablets) will represent more than 29% of the total online ad spend in the US by 2018. The forecast looks at mobile device ownership in the US, trends in device usage, and mobile advertising supply-side data to fix the current and future market size for display, search, and social spending.

The drivers behind this take-off of mobile ad spending are:

  • Increased device ownership, particularly of tablets. Smartphone installed base growth in 2012 was more than 35%, while tablet installed base growth exceeded 120%. By 2016, tablet sales will overtake the sales of desktop and laptop PCs.
  • The intensity of online tablet use. Despite tablets representing less than 30% of the mobile device market in the US, they represent more than 40% of total mobile page views. In addition, the majority of tablet users watch video on their tablet, compared with about a third of smartphone users.
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Europe Will Be The Largest eBook Market By 2017, Worth $19 Billion

eReaders are set to have one of the shortest growth life cycles in device history. Between 2009-2011 the average annual sales of dedicated eReading devices in the US grew by more than 100%. In 2012, US dedicated eReader sales growth will be negative. The decline of the eReader is driven by the availability and affordability of tablets, with global tablet sales in 2012 set to reach more than 120 million.

The Forrester Research eReader And eBook Adoption Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (Global) analyzes eBook adoption drivers across more than 50 countries. Heavy readers like eBooks. In the US, eBook readers read an average of 24 books per year compared with just 15 books for non-eBook readers. In addition, eBook readers are becoming more device-agnostic, with similar eBook reading levels observed across tablets and dedicated eReading devices.

We used the following drivers to calculate our forecast for eBooks and eReaders

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34% Of Tablet Owners Worldwide Will Be In Asia Pacific By 2017

Since the launch of the iPad in 2010, more than 200 million tablets have been sold worldwide. Compare this with the laptop, which went from 2 million unit sales in 1990 to just 29 million 10 years later. Tablets have already started to cannibalize laptop and eReader device sales, as they offer distinct advantages over the laptop — they’re lightweight, have a long battery life, and provide convenience via a touchscreen and their “always on” mode.

Our recently published Forrester Research World Tablet Adoption Forecast, 2012 To 2017 analyzes the drivers of tablet adoption across more than 50 countries. These include:

·         A growing online population: By 2017, the majority of the worldwide online population will reside in Asia Pacific; this region will contain 34% of tablet owners. Europe and North America will follow.

·         The fall of tablet prices: For example, the Turkish government plans to distribute domestically produced tablets to 15 million students for free.

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