Based on the responses of 36 industry leaders, the Swiss E-commerce 2016 Report indicates that online retail is in the midst of a strong growth period in Switzerland, reaching 10% year-on-year. In 2017 online sales accounted for 7% of total retail sales in Switzerland.

There are currently 5.08 million eCommerce users in Switzerland, with this number expected to increase by an additional 470,000 users by 2021. This should come as no surprise, considering that 83% of Swiss consumers indicated they ‘often’ used digital applications for their shopping. The forecasted revenue per user for the sector averaged out over the next four years will be USD 1,958 in online purchases, placing Switzerland firmly in the leading pack.       

The total revenue of Swiss e-commerce across all categories is USD 7.59 billion, and is expected to grow to USD 10.88 billion by 2021. The strongest sectors in Swiss e-commerce are fashion, food, electronics and digital media.  

The biggest online shopping platforms are in Switzerland are Digitec.ch, Zalando.ch, Nespresso.ch, alongside Brack.ch. As a major distributor, Galaxus Digitec (Migros) is very successful, with revenue of CHF 700 million in 2015, closely followed by other local FMCG giants Coop and Manor.

In early 2018 the American e-commerce powerhouse Amazon will launch their 24-hour delivery service Prime, giving Swiss consumers access to 229 million products at the click of a mouse.  

One upcoming trend in e-commerce are direct sales from the manufacturer. According to the Credit Suisse Retail Outlook, 60% of Swiss manufacturers are active in direct sales through e-commerce. The advantages are national and international brand awareness, access to products, and an improved consumer experience thanks to direct dialogue with the client.

A study by Deloitte about the “digital consumer” recommends businesses to jump on the train of online retail. Over the next two- three years, the growth rate of online purchase will increase, meaning retailers will have to accommodate the new needs of the ‘consumer 4.0’. Likewise, companies will be in stronger need for digital marketing advocates who are able to provide an engaging user journey for online retail.  

Asia as a leader

Digital channels are key for the global sales sector, with online retail expanding 19% year on year and accounting for 9% (EUR 2 trillion) of the global retail spend of EUR 23 trillion. In China, 18.4% of retail sales were online in 2016, contrasting with just 6.7% of Japanese, and 15% of the total UK retail spend. There remains significant differences in national and regional take-up of mobile, tablet and desktop e-commerce platforms.

Asia Pacific (APAC) stands out as the global driver for e-commerce spending and growth: China alone represents 47% of worldwide retail e-commerce, and the region is set to more than double its online spend by 2020 to EUR 2.3 trillion. However, China is notable by its absence in the PageGroup list of top 30 countries for sales profiles to show interest in moving to, coming in at 44th place. This suggests that despite being a global sector, a big impact point of sales remains on a local level.

North America is second in real terms of spend, topping EUR 460 billion, while Continental Europe comes in third, with the UK a close fourth. That the UK, a market of 62 million people, is just behind Europe highlights the need for localisation and personalisation of the ‘hard’ end of the sales pipeline – and where huge growth lies for companies that can bridge the gap between product, sales and the consumer. 

Accessing growth

To close the gap between global supply chains, the multinationals that operate them, and the end consumer, companies are looking towards science and channel convergence to drive them forward.

The practice of using physical stores as showrooms to allow for less stock wastage is growing in Asia, UK and most recently in the US, where the fastest growing retail segment is people over the age of 55 years, who have different expectations from the in-store sale experience.

As the sales pipeline becomes increasingly data-driven, the method of putting consumer and product together will change, as will the point that the human element enters into the selling process. Information on previous purchases, on current trends, live pricing, and satisfaction surveys will all affect the interaction of sales and consumption.

Ranking global hotspots for sales professionals

For Trend Watch PageGroup surveyed 18352 job seekers worldwide, who applied on our Michael Page and Page Personnel websites during the 3rd quarter of 2017.

Of the 1999 sales professionals who participated in the study, 59% were willing to relocate, for job opportunities, a better salary or a different lifestyle.

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