The Global E-Tailing for a 2025 study initiated by DHL analysed the role e-Commerce will play in consumer’s lives in the year 2025 and how it will influence consumerism, retailing and logistics. The report shows that over the next 10 years, online retail will continue to gain popularity in both developed and emerging markets and as a result, logistics companies will play a key role in providing vital supply chain management solutions that are able to evolve with consumers’ shopping habits. The study further examines scenarios with alternative views of what e-Commerce globally could look like for consumers and businesses in the near future, depending on various economic factors. Its different future projections are based on a detailed analysis of the most influential factors affecting economies ranging from energy and raw material prices to technological, political and social factors to retail and consumption patterns. It shows four possible scenarios;
1. Hybrid consumer behaviour in the convergent world of retailing: This scenario presents a strong global economy and stable middle class where the true model of “Everywhere Commerce” is established and smartphones and tablets remain consumers’ constant companions. Interactive displays are ever-present in city streets, serving as interfaces to the virtual world and retail sectors target customers through a variety of channels. These channels include interactive displays as well as goods offered online and in stationary stores, which results in consumers being able to access and purchase products at all times.
2. Artificial intelligence in the digital retailing sphere: In this scenario, the global economy thrives despite exhibiting significant volatility in preceding years. A highly developed digital culture evolves which sees all products being sold online and consumers receiving the support of virtual consultants which will not only check the authenticity of a product and monitor purchase and delivery, but also place the actual order online.
3. Self-presentation in virtual communities: In this scenario, the world economy experiences rapid growth and increase in wealth creates an affluent consumption-oriented middle class whose values have shifted away from work and more towards leisure. Niche retail websites which offer selective and a dynamically changing assortment for individual lifestyles become the focal point of regional and global lifestyle communities primarily driving online retail.
4. Collaborative consumption in a regionalized retailing landscape: This is a crisis scenario where consumer consumption patterns develop after the global economy suffers another financial crisis. Under these circumstances, a high degree of protectionism brings international retailing to a complete standstill. The powerful shift of the economy leads to a substantial change in consumer habits and as a rule, results in consumers buying locally.
Sumesh Rahavendra, Head of Marketing for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa e-tailing, said that the sale of goods and services through the internet has exploded globally especially in emerging countries and despite the various possible future scenarios, it is clear that e-tailing will continue to boom.
He stated that, “Currently, e-Commerce already makes up 8% of the overall trading volume in Europe. Depending on the scenario, this share could rise up to 40% in developed countries and up to 30% in today’s emerging markets. The factor which all scenarios have in common is that the competition in electronic retail, whether on global, national or regional levels will become more intense. We don’t know for certain what the world will look like in 2025, but the study’s various scenarios show how rapidly the global retail sector, both online and offline is changing and that logistics will be a focal point of these change processes.”
He continued, “While e-tailing can facilitate the transaction of the changing consumer trends, the delivery of the product needs to be considered. Many retailers put significant focus to attract customers but more effort needs to be paid to facilitating flawless delivery to customers. Even more so when deliveries begin being measured in minutes as opposed to hours and days. This will require logistics to adapt as well as the delivery of competitive advantages, such as offering same day delivery and flexible returns. In the future, logistics will take over the role as an enabler for online retailers even more so than today. As a logistics company, we have a good overview on companies in various industries in almost all countries of the world. In Africa, we are continually noticing the rise of e-tailing on the continent and we are increasingly becoming an advisor to these businesses and partners for success as opposed to a just traditional service provider.”