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E-commerce hits $1.7 trillion as high street suffers

Falling footfall numbers in the high street likely to be as a result of growing e-commerce.

By James Nunns

Sales are expected to reach $1.7 trillion this year in the global e-commerce market, a 17% rise from last year.

By comparison high street sales in June fell by 2% compared to the previous year, according to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker.

The declining high street sales and growing e-commerce numbers represent a growing shift in consumer habits as they seek online deals.

This worrying trend for the high street has been bolstered by social media companies acting as direct sales platforms. Companies such as Facebook and Twitter have launched ‘buy’ buttons, which gives the consumer the ability to buy online with greater ease.

This is a worrying trend for high street shops and highlights the importance of retailers to have an effective digitalisation strategy in place.

This ease of online transactions is likely to have contributed to a footfall fall of 2.8% compared to the same month of the previous year, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium.

Although retail parks have seen a 2.8% rise in footfall, Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, said: "The fundamental shift in the way people are shopping seems to be driving the sustained reduction in shopper numbers to both high streets and shopping centres."

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Dickinson stresses that the re-invention of the high street is far from complete and that the development of multi-use destinations in towns needs to continue in earnest.

The impressive e-commerce growth figures which were released by Juniper Research, reveal that online sales have also been boosted by the growth of public WiFi deployments and the rollout of 4G networks and the growth of one day delivery.

It is predicted that smartphone will account for more than 40% of eRetail transactions by 2020.

The research, ‘Mobile & Online Purchases: Card, Carrier Billing & Third Party Payment Platforms 2015-2020,’ cautioned that retailers need to deliver a consistency of message, branding and shopping experience across all channels.

Integreation between in-store and online is becoming critical for retailers to maximise the potential value of omnichannel shopping and unique individual’s shopping habits.

Dr Windsor Holden, research author, said: "The key is to ensure that consumers are allowed to choose their own path to purchase rather than have it effectively mandated by channel limitations."

Amazon last week sparked speculation that it is to create further competition in the grocery market with a UK launch of Amazon Fresh.

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