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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).
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
James Eadie, Director of Product & Services PR
Royal Mail Group
Tim Cowen, Director of Consumer & Business Media Relations
Royal Mail Group,
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
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