Online retail growth slowed to 12.1% year-on-year in 2017 compared to 15.9% in 2016, new figures have revealed.
According to the 2017 IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, this growth was almost 2% under its forecast 14%. Its prediction for 2018 dipped further to 9%.
Growth in 2016 was driven through smartphone sales, which averaged at 77% each month from July to December 2016, this fell to 50% in the same period in 2017.
Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement at Capgemini, said 2018 will be ”ultra-competitive with continued uncertainty”.
“Retailers will need to be focused on their plans to both survive and grow. One opportunity for growth and differentiation will come from emerging technology as we saw as a focus in 2017 – voice and social commerce, connected devices and AI all drove interest and investment and will continue to do so – the big challenge will remain as how to drive value and industrialising this capability.”
He added: “A second opportunity will be deepening relationships with customers and taking an insight-driven approach to omnichannel retail – one which arguably remains a gap for many retailers across channels.”
However, the Index forecast a positive 2019 due to a “three-year-bounce pattern” which saw growth peaks in 2010, 2013 and 2016 due to advances in website load speeds and experiences, tablets and smartphones respectively.
Should 2018 follow this pattern, the retail market can expect ”a new stimulus to be entering or proliferating the market during 2019”.