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Retailers believe their world is going to get a lot more digital in the next few years, according to data from Retail Systems Research (RSR).
Currently, most retailers worldwide believe less than a quarter of their sales are influenced by digital shopping. Around one in three say somewhere between 25% and 75% of sales are digitally influenced, and a handful think the vast majority of sales have something to do with consumer who use digital devices to find the best products—and the best prices.
But in just three short years, the share of retailers around the world who expect 75% of sales or more to be influenced by digital will double. On the flip side, fewer than three in 10 say that three years from now, less than a quarter of sales will be influenced by consumers who shop online.
RSR also found that while 97% of retailers surveyed believe a digital presence is important for direct sales, 98% said it was key for driving sales in physical stores.
The close connection between digital shopping and in-store sales highlights the importance of a seamless customer experience across channels. Nearly half of retailers surveyed strongly agreed that a seamless experience was a necessity, and 47% more agreed, albeit not strongly.
Of course, necessary does not translate to easy. Even among retailers with above-average store or channel sales growth, 48% said providing more ways for consumers to connect with them was a challenge.
Though digital channels influence a large share of retail sales worldwide, retail ecommerce sales still account for a small share of the total. eMarketer estimates that this year, 7.3% of retail sales worldwide will occur via digital channels, excluding sales of travel and event tickets. By 2019, the share will reach just 12.4%.
Learn more about eMarketer data and insights »
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