E-commerce could grow by 30% in Switzerland in 2020

Last year, the Swiss made online purchases for a total amount of about 10 billion francs, an increase of 8% in the volume of online commerce. According to the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) e-commerce research, online shopping will grow significantly in 2020. The survey’s leaders estimate that between 22 and 30 percent of additional products will be purchased online compared to this year.

“The Swiss have discovered online commerce and this trend will continue in the long run,” a member of the Swiss Distance Selling Association (ASVAD) explains in the study. The incarceration linked to the coronavirus crisis is the cause: “The entire distribution system is, as it were, subjected to massive A/B testing. Instead of suppliers thinking about how best to reach customers to persuade them to purchase online, customers came alone and in droves for two months,” the study continues.

Interconnected online and offline commerce

The authors of the study also note that the distinction between online and offline activities is increasingly disappearing. In addition to micro-enterprises, more and more retailers are turning to the Internet, mobile applications, online marketplaces or providers of customer access services (search engines, social networks, blogs, etc.). The principle also works the other way around. According to the research, online and offline business models have merged: online retailers are also increasingly using pop-up stores, their own physical stores or collection points.

The proliferation of mobile commerce and social media sales is evidence of how well an interconnected model works. “Platforms add order buttons and new payment methods, retailers use them and offer, for example, entire product catalogs on Whatsapp,” says the research, which shows that simplicity and service would mainly attract suppliers whose users are interested.

No profitable trading without traffic

Retail competition has exploded over the past 20 years. Access to the customer is therefore a decisive success factor. “Very few online stores manage to drive traffic to their site on their own to develop a profitable business,” the study underlines. Retailers have no choice but to rely on service providers for customer access, in other words, GAFAs for the most part.

However, while Google is the leader in Switzerland for online sales, skepticism towards the online giant has grown. However, there is no market that dominates the Swiss market. In general, respondents believe that online marketplaces increase the likelihood of success for their suppliers. Among the benefits of using such a solution are increased sales, increased visibility and the acquisition of new customers. However, there is also some competition between marketplaces and their providers, as the former often act as traders as well.

The research also provides a glimpse into the coming years: e-commerce forecasts are not only optimistic for 2020. Two-thirds of the companies surveyed expect their online sales to increase by 50% or more by 2050. None of the survey participants expect e-commerce sales to decline or stagnate.

About the study

The E-Commerce Report Switzerland 2020 survey, conducted since 2009 by the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, is the result of a survey of 35 e-commerce and multichannel providers with significant market impact. These are retailers that offer consumer goods or services and whose e-commerce volume exceeds 6 billion francs.

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