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Online retail news in brief (24 January 2018)

By IMRG

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In case you missed them, we’ve pulled together a few online retail news highlights from around the web this week.

Here are some of the latest stories in online retail.

Online retail shows signs of a maturing market, with a tough 2018 to come

  • Growth for online retail market in 2017 – 12.1% YoY against forecast of 14%
  • Annual forecast single-digit for first time – 9% in 2018
  • Online retail YoY growth in December lowest for the entire year – 9.1%

UK online retail sales were up 12.1% on average year-on-year (YoY) in 2017, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

Compared to 2016’s YoY average of 15.9%, and just under 2 percentage points lower than the Index’s 2017 forecast of 14%, the fall in annual growth is one of multiple indicators of a maturing market. Indeed, across the twelve months of 2017 only March and April showed notably stronger YoY growth than the previous year.

IMRG Members can download the full report here.

Lowest on-time delivery for online retail in December

Online retail delivery order volumes were up 17.2% year-on-year in December, according to the latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index, producing record volume for the peak period.

This contrasted with low year-on-year growth for the same month in 2016 (only 2.4%) when there was a slow-down in growth between November and December which appeared to reflect the impact of Black Friday pulling a bulk of orders forward into November. In addition, the percentage of orders arriving on time fell to its lowest level (85%) since we started tracking it in 2011.

IMRG Members can download the full report here.

Amazon Go is a go

Amazon’s checkout-free physical store opened in Seattle this week.

Amazon Go lets shoppers ‘check-in’ at entrance barriers with the Amazon Go app, select the items they wish to buy, and walk out, at which point their account will be charged for their purchases.

Amazon has revealed that the technology it relies on involves sophisticated cameras and weight sensors to operate.

CBI comes out for the Customs Union

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for the UK to remain in the EU Customs Union following Brexit.

In an interview on Peston on Sunday, CBI head Carolyn Fairbairn argued that remaining in the union would be the best course of action for the UK’s economic wellbeing, and warned of a “lack of clarity” around current talks on the future UK-EU trading relationship.

Just 1 in 4 trust social media

The annual Edelman Trust Barometer survey has revealed that only a quarter of Britons trust social media.

The Survey also found that:

  • 64% of Britons believe that social media companies are not sufficiently regulated
  • 63% believe they lack transparency
  • 62% believe they are selling people's data without their knowledge

IMF Optimistic for World Economy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast 3.9% global economic growth for 2018. That represents a faster growth than in 2017 (3.7%) and 2016 (3.2%).

The IMF says that among other factors, US tax reforms will stimulate the economy.

IMF's chief economist, Maurice Obstfeld, qualified the good news: "The present economic momentum reflects a confluence of factors that is unlikely to last for long."

Survey: Shoppers reluctant to make major purchases online

A survey by PushOn has suggested that 62% are wary of buying expensive products online, and prefer to use brick and mortar stores for such purchases.

  • 82% cited the ability to physically examine the product before buying
  • 47% said they researched online before buying in store
  • 39% said they would pay up to £1,000 online

Sam Rutley, managing director at PushON: “Retailers need to be addressing this issue by building up the same level of trust and reliability online that customers feel they receive when shopping in-store.”

Facebook invents time

An engineer at Facebook has invented a new unit of time, christening it the ‘Flick’.

At 1/705,600,000 of a second, the Flick is one unit longer than a nanosecond. It’s intended for use in programming language C++, so as to measure time between media frames without using fractions.

An Oxford researcher is quoted as having predicted the invention ‘will have little general impact’.

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