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How internet adoption is really impacting the retail industry and what it means for your business


The internet is far from being new or revolutionary, after all it has been 25 years since the World Wide Web came into play, but to this day it is still nothing short of extraordinary as to just how much the internet has changed the face of just about everything.

As it continues to evolve at an alarming rate, it’s become indispensable to over 3 billion of us across the globe - almost half of the world’s population – and has 1.1 billion more users than it had only six years ago. Let that sink in for a moment. But while the rate of adoption is outstanding, what’s even more impressive is how exactly it is being used by 3 billion users.

Arguably one of the biggest impacts the internet has had is on the global retail industry, and with more and more consumers now either shopping online, or using the web for researching a product, there is no denying that the rise of eCommerce has transformed the purchasing habits of consumers. Realistically, the internet has reached both a scale and impact that cannot be ignored by retailers, in fact according to the BCG Report, it is expected that in 2016, online retail will account for up to 23% of total retail spend in the UK, compared to 13.5% in 2010. 

How internet spend is expected to differ across countries

If you're selling into the UK, then the fact that almost a quarter of total retail spend in this market comes from online retail is a huge deal, providing us with significant insight into the buying behaviours of British consumers.

Interestingly, this percentage differs largely across the globe, and our infographic below provides a global comparison by highlighting the online retail spend as a percentage of total retail for each G-20 country.

What’s apparent is that while developing markets have seen a smaller percentage increase, compared with some of the more developed markets, the overall spend is still significant and represents a global increase in online retail sales. Billions of dollars’ worth to be precise.

SEE ALSO: Essential Currency Tips For Cross-Border Sellers


What exactly does this all mean for your business?

In the years ahead, it’s extremely likely that we will see a transformation in retail, similar to the one we have seen in the media industry, and subsequently, as a retailer it will become integral that you can provide a multichannel offering, ensuring that you are meeting the needs of your potential customers across the globe. This means having a presence across the many channels and marketplaces in which they are active on.

Whether you like it or not, the internet is going to continue evolving at a tremendous rate, arguably even more so in the next five years than in has in its first twenty-five years, and by failing to have an online presence, you expose yourself to significant business risks, following in the footsteps of industries such as music and publishing, which are renowned for holding on to outdated business models and struggling to survive. With that in mind, as an online business it is integral that you can accept this change and rise to the challenge of an internet-driven marketplace, regardless of which countries you are selling into.

Linn Academy 2019

Topics: eCommerce, eCommerce Trends