The European online market

Mintel estimates Europewide online sales of electrical and electronic goods grew by nearly 14% in 2013, taking Internet sales to nearly €45 billion. This strong performance was against a small decline in total value sales of electrical goods in Europe in 2013.

Amazon leads Internet sales in Europe

Amazon took fully one-fifth of this total online market for electricals in 2013, we estimate – a far larger share than any other retailer. Its closest competitor captured an online market share of less than 4%.

And in the fast-growing online channel, Amazon has gained market share, we calculate.


Hitting established retailers

Major store-based electricals specialists have already been hit by the growth of the online channel and pureplay retailers such as Amazon:

  • In the UK, Comet closed at the end of 2012, in part due to pureplays taking share of the market;
  • In Germany, Rewe Group sold off or closed its ProMarkt stores in 2013 and into 2014, with Rewe’s CEO
    admitting the retailer missed the shift to online.


Store-based retailers must push back

It’s usual at this point to compel store-based retailers to push the ‘multichannel’ model, by fully integrating their online and in-store retail arms and emphasising the convenience of multichannel shopping to consumers. But we think they need to look beyond this.

We think two elements are necessary to fight back:

  • Stores must focus on the features and services that really matter to shoppers, particularly with a view to strengthening their position among higher-spending shoppers, who already tend to shop in-store more than online (our new Electrical Goods Retailing – Europe examines what shoppers in five major economies said was most important to them when choosing where to buy electricals).
  • Store-based retailers must adopt something of Amazon’s spirit of innovation in ordering, fulfilment and delivery. For too many retailers, establishing a ‘multichannel’ offer has largely been a matter of adding on a website, launching a mobile app and offering a click-and-collect option. But these retailers are competing against Amazon’s numerous innovations that have included collection lockers, Prime membership, its Add-On programme for low-value orders, and a new patent application for shipping goods before they’ve been ordered.

One thing is certain: it’s crucial for stores to have a clear strategy for catering to online demand and fending off the threat from pureplays.

See Mintel’s Electrical Goods Retailing Europe 2014 report for further online sales data, online market shares, our Amazon company profile, and Mintel’s exclusive consumer research.