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Opportunities in lifestyle eCommerce in the UK

Mobile internet retailing continues to gather momentum in the UK, with consumers increasingly shopping via smartphones.

Retailers - online, bricks and mortar or both - face similar challenges all over the globe. There is a growing demand to offer a seamless customer experience at every touchpoint, maximize sales across every channel and device, and provide immediate product availability and delivery. At the same time, retailers must continuously build their assortment as enchanting as possible, especially in the online marketplace.

To create a strong retail brand that attracts and retains high-value customers, retailers have no choice but to turn shopping into an outstanding experience. Shopping must be effortless, relaxing and ultimately enjoyable - while offering the customer exciting products and services. For many businesses, this will be achieved most efficiently in the online marketplace, where customers seek competitive prices and a wide selection of goods. For these reasons, many online marketplaces continuously look for new products to make their assortment more appealing to their customers. 

The need to upgrade online product assortments offers new business opportunities for Finnish lifestyle companies targeting the UK market. 

A rapidly growing online market with huge potential 

Online retail continues to grow significantly globally and in Europe. The European e-commerce turnover has increased 13.3% to € 455.3 billion. Compared to the 1.0% growth of general retail in Europe, the growth of e-commerce has been huge.  

The full potential of the European e-commerce market has yet to be reached. Today, 57% of European Internet users shop online, but only 16% of SMEs sell online – and less than half of those sell online across borders (7.5%). 

E-commerce continues to be the biggest driver of retail sales growth in the UK, and it has remained relatively unaffected by economic uncertainty. In 2018, eMarketer estimates, retail e-commerce sales will reach € 107 billion, eclipsing one-fifth of total retail sales for the first time. By 2021, that figure will reach over one-quarter of the total.

Mobile commerce powering up growth

Online retail growth in the UK is driven mainly by mobile commerce. eMarketer estimates, retail m-commerce sales will rise by 14.2% between 2017 and 2021, when purchases made online via mobile devices will contribute over one-tenth (13.4%) of total retail sales. Total retail sales in the UK are expected to increase by 4.2% in 2018 to € 493.6 billion.
M-commerce sales in the UK are quickly approaching half of the country’s retail e-commerce market. By 2021, purchases made online via mobile devices will account for 51.7% of total retail e-commerce sales, up from 43.3% in 2017. In 2017, m-commerce sales in the UK were forecasted to outpace sales on tablets for the first time, due largely to consumers becoming more accustomed to making both higher-value and on-the-go purchases via smartphone. 

Digital buying is widespread among nearly all age groups in the UK. The strongest growth in adoption will come from the older consumers (65 and older), among whom digital buyer penetration is expected to surpass more than 50% for the first time in 2018.

Market match for Finnish companies

Finnish lifestyle companies match the online assortment needs especially in the UK market. For Finnish companies, business potential is big in all lifestyle related product areas such as:

  • Fashion
  • Accessories
  • Furniture
  • Design objects
  • Interior
  • Home textile 

If you are a lifestyle company interested in this business opportunity, please contact us for further information:

Perry LeDain
Business Finland
Senior Advisor 
+44 7867 781237

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