E-Commerce Report Switzerland 2019 – From mass products to individual value.

Datatrans and the FHNW present the latest trends in online distribution with the E-Commerce Report Switzerland 2019.

Once upon a time, the Internet opened up access to a massive marketplace. Now, consumers are tired of the volume of mass-produced goods and are seeking offers with complementary services and individual value. Providers hoping for success in the face of competition must recognise that in the future, manufacturers will no longer decide what people buy, rather customers will decide what distribution networks should deliver.

Zurich, 27 June 2019
Strong web-based consumption is increasing. In 2018, online purchases in Switzerland amounted to almost 10 billion francs. This represents a 10% increase in e-commerce volumes. The participants in the study expect this growth to continue in 2019 as well.

E-Commerce Report 2019: Positive prospects for e-commerce

Foreign platforms enjoy disproportionate growth

The value of orders placed through platforms abroad has risen considerably, by 16%. Over the past five years, foreign providers have increased in size more than twice as quickly as those in Switzerland. Today, 22% of online trade is accounted for by foreign business. Disproportionately high growth is anticipated again in 2019.

From linear distribution chains to a customer-centric model

Traditionally, the consumer goods industry was a value chain that started with the manufacturer and ended with the consumer, with the gap bridged by the wholesaler and retailer. Now, digital platforms such as online marketplaces, social media and search engines are tearing up the old roles and positioning themselves between the retailer and consumer with additional useful services. As a result, the customer is in control. Digital platforms are the customer’s enablers – providers can only reach the customer through them.

Retail is decreasing in importance, losing out to a new connected world of supply

The round-the-clock availability of offers online means that regional retail businesses are less important. In Switzerland, stores are already closing and sales floors are becoming smaller. All stages of the distribution chain are under pressure. As a result, a new connected world of supply is emerging, offering many different opportunities for cooperation.

Customers are online, brands are getting on board

Brands have to engage more online in order to reach customers at the key touch points on the web. Brand profiles are shaped by own services, reflecting valuable information about customers and the way they buy. However, brands’ own B2C stores are primarily a marketing tool and by 2025 will only represent a small proportion of brands’ sales volumes.

Retailers can establish a niche with virtual product ranges

Instead of filling huge shop floors, retailers in the future will operate smaller, more intensively managed stores. Virtual product ranges are one approach: the products available in store will be complemented by others in additional colours and sizes that can be ordered there and then. 

Profiting from growth requires continual investment

E-commerce remains a very dynamic and competitive business, with prospects for continued high levels of growth. To keep pace with the competition, companies must constantly expand their services and make their processes more efficient. E-commerce requires continual investment in IT and logistics. Companies will find the greatest opportunities in customisation and relationship management.  

E-Commerce Report 2019: Concentration of dominant providers

Smart mobile solutions increase conversion

Making purchases on smartphones is becoming increasingly popular. Businesses are targeting their marketing to smartphone users to improve conversion rates in the mobile segment. Mobile solutions that feature seamless payments with predefined payment information offer a simple method, especially for regular purchases, that also increases customer loyalty. Smart public transport ticket systems from Fairtiq and SBB Easy Ride, and the cashless avec box kiosk from Valora are showing the way ahead.

Growth trend for e-commerce remains stable for years to come

The study panel’s expectations for growth in e-commerce in the coming years are high: At least two thirds of the businesses surveyed believe that e-commerce sales in their sector will rise by 50% or more by 2025. None of the respondents expect online business to stagnate or fall.


Download study for free or read the Management Summary.