News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    Royal Mail delivering parcel to woman at home
    2 January 2013
    UK online retailers predict higher sales for 2013 as competition increases
  • UK online retailers are predicting improved sales in 2013 despite a more competitive environment for share of consumer spending, reflecting overall growth in the online market
  • Royal Mail research has revealed that just over half of SME online retailers saw an increase in sales in 2012. Two thirds are confident sales will increase this year. At the same time 70 per cent believe competition is more intense than two years ago
  • The rise in people using Smartphones and tablets to buy goods increasingly means shoppers are using retailers they know and not shopping around, one third (31 per cent) of online retailers said
  • 35 per cent of SME online retailers are planning to develop mobile apps in 2013. Ten per cent said they have already developed them
  • Online retailers also said the increase in the number of websites selling goods and price sensitive customers are key factors fuelling the increased competition
  • To respond to the challenge, priorities for SME online retailers in 2013 will be increasing customer satisfaction by improving the range and quality of products they sell, pricing more competitively and focussing on improved delivery and returns processes
     

UK online retailers are predicting improved sales in 2013 despite a more competitive environment for share of consumer spending, reflecting overall growth in the online market, research by Royal Mail has revealed.

The study revealed that just over half of SME online retailers saw an increase in sales in 2012 and two thirds (64 per cent) are confident sales will increase this year. This is despite 70 per cent believing competition is more intense than two years ago.

Increased competition for sales: the Smartphone challenge
The rise in people using Smartphones and tablets to buy goods increasingly means shoppers are using retailers they know and not shopping around, one third (31 per cent) of online retailers said.

To respond to the challenge of the changing ways people shop online, 35 per cent of SME online retailers are planning to develop mobile apps in 2013. Ten per cent said they have already developed them.

Almost six in ten online retailers (56 per cent) said the increase in the number of websites selling goods was fuelling increased competition for sales. Half of those surveyed said customers are more price sensitive. Four in ten (39 per cent) said the rise in price promotions mean shoppers seek out the best prices the majority of the time.

Responding to the challenge
The study further revealed that 57 per cent of SME online retailers said attracting new customers is among their biggest challenges to increasing sales in 2013. Other key challenges are pricing goods competitively (49 per cent) and building customer loyalty to drive repeat purchases from existing customers (36 per cent).

  • In response to the challenges, the study revealed that as a priority, in 2013: 
  • Half of SME online retailers (48 per cent) said they will be increasing customer satisfaction by improving the range of products available
  • 46 per cent said they will be pricing more competitively
  • Three in ten (29 per cent) will be improving the quality of products they sell
  • One quarter will focus on improved delivery and returns processes

Nick Landon, Managing Director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “Our study shows that online retailers are responding to the needs of shoppers to grow sales in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

For further information contact:
Akudo Ike, PR Manager
Royal Mail Group
07725447937
Akudo.ike@royalmail.com

James Eadie, Director of Product & Services PR
Royal Mail Group
07850757271
James.r.eadie@royalmail.com

Tim Cowen, Director of Consumer & Business Media Relations
Royal Mail Group,
07720412143
Tim.cowen@royalmail.com

The research was conducted by Brass, an independent research company, on behalf of Royal Mail. 441 UK SME online retailers completed the survey, accessed via Toluna’s online panel