MarketLine Blog

Posts about Online Retail

East meets West. The battle for supremacy in India’s e-commerce market

MarketLine

While China and the US currently dominate in terms of e-commerce spending, India is one of the world’s fastest growing internet markets. It is also the fastest growing country in the Asia Pacific region in the retail e-commerce space. The rapid pace of growth of e-commerce in India creates a huge potential opportunity and attracts not only local players but foreign e-commerce giants, like Amazon and Alibaba. The largest local players, Flipcart and Snapdeal, initially seen as the dark horses in this race and attracting serious investment, are now losing… Read more

Gig Employment: Not a smooth ride

MarketLine

The number of individuals defined as self-employed is growing aided by the latest trend of gig-employment. These self-employed individuals serve to increase competition between those seeking full time employment and those who prefer to work contract to contract. A recent change in the mindset of the gig-employment workers has caused a shift in working patterns with these workers now beginning to seek out full time employee status and the benefits which accompany this. Businesses which previously exploited these gig workers (e.g. Deliveroo and Uber) are now under scrutiny and face… Read more

Next alone in its Christmas disappointment

MarketLine

The Christmas trading period is the most important time of the year for retailers, accounting for a significant proportion of a company’s sales and profit. In January 2017, numerous UK retailers revealed their Christmas 2016 trading results, with many high street retailers hailing the festive period a success. A notable exception to this was Next PLC, which revealed it had faced a difficult Christmas trading period and warned of a problematic retail environment in the UK as a whole. On 4th January 2017, Next was the first high street retailer… Read more

Sports Direct: Working conditions scandal fallout must be managed to minimize damage

MarketLine

Recent revelations about Sports Direct’s working practices have been largely made via exposé reporting from The Guardian. Secret filming in the company’s Shirebrook warehouse led to claims of a culture of fear, pay of less than the national minimum wage, unpaid after-hours work, and questionable punitive practices. This was then followed by written reporting and interviews with workers, both from the warehouse and from stores. Although terminology like ‘Victorian workhouse’ and ‘Gulag’ is sensationalist and unwarranted, Sports Direct was forced to respond to the claims in a bid to limit… Read more

Sainsbury’s trialing one-hour delivery service

MarketLine

Supermarkets in the UK have faced a tough marketplace in recent years. The recession, and the accompanying squeeze on incomes, has led to many consumers becoming shrewd in their purchases and increasingly looking to find the cheapest option. This has led to a climate in which discounters, and in particular Aldi and Lidl, have been able to thrive. All of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets have seen their market share eroded by the discounters, which led to a debilitating round of price wars in which profits were eroded. As such, there… Read more

Consumer Law: Shifting power from businesses to consumers

MarketLine

As of October 1, 2015 new consumer protection measures came into force in the UK. Under the Consumer Rights Act, customers are now entitled to a full refund on faulty goods for up to 30 days after the purchase. This area was previously rather sketchy, with consumers only being entitled to refunds for a ‘reasonable time’. A further measure has been the introduction of new protection for those purchasing digital content, allowing for a replacement on downloads that do not work. What’s more, if a digital download infects a user’s… Read more

Amazon Web Services, revolutionizing cloud computing

MarketLine

Amazon Web Services (AWS) was developed alongside the online retail giant’s vast e-commerce from the world’s largest online retailer’s inception. Although having built its reputation and brand recognition on its retail operations, Amazon has gone on to expand its offerings into products and services as diverse as media, electronics and cloud computing. Responsible for over 4% of Amazon’s revenues in 2013, AWS has seen Amazon sink over 10 years of development and millions of dollars of investment into the world’s largest cloud service provider. Available in over 190 countries worldwide,… Read more

Supermarket price wars: A race to the bottom?

MarketLine

Grocery retailers in the UK have been experiencing the effects of a noticeable shift in consumer behavior in recent years. The recession, and the accompanying squeeze on incomes, has led to many consumers becoming shrewd in their purchases and increasingly looking to find the cheapest option. This has led to a climate in which discounters, and in particular Aldi and Lidl, have been able to thrive. Loyalty to supermarkets has been affected, with consumers more willing to shop around for their goods. This has had a detrimental impact on the… Read more

Vitamins and minerals sales have witnessed strong growth in recent years

MarketLine

The number of households purchasing vitamins grew in 2014 A survey into dietary supplement use has shown that the number of consumers buying these products has grown consecutively between 2012 and 2014. The survey found that growth was largely driven by male consumers, and that children’s multivitamin sales had experienced decline. TABS Group’s survey looked at 1,000 consumers’ purchases over a number of channels in the previous year ending April or May 2014. It was found that 75% of households purchased vitamins at least once in the year ending April… Read more

Fade to Black? Black Friday US sales dip while UK adopts the retail frenzy

MarketLine

Retail sales on Black Friday declined considerably in the US compared to last year while Amazon reported that the UK’s sales had surpassed its expectations. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated on Sunday that spending over the four-day weekend would fall to $57.4bn, down 2.3% from $59.0bn in 2013. Although the number of consumers out over the Black Friday weekend has increased to 141 million from 139 million, their average spend is lower at $407, -4% on last year. Although consumer confidence in the country is at a seven year… Read more

Independent retailers and restaurants are small but growing organic food sellers

MarketLine

Sales of organic food through independent outlets rose by 6.9% in 2013 to a value of £513m (approximately $801m). Independent outlets include box schemes; farm, health and wholefood shops; farmers’ markets; and online purchases. Most independent retailers have seen strong growth: a Soil Association survey found that 75% grew, with three quarters of these retailers reporting sales growth of more than 10%. Only 6% experienced a decline in sales. Home delivery schemes have been doing particularly well: sales grew by 11% in 2013 to reach £193.6m (approximately $302.6m). Abel &… Read more

Pop-up stores no longer a novelty?

MarketLine

A pop-up store is defined as a retail outlet that is created temporarily in a location for a short period of time. The first pop-up store was established by Russ Miller, with his company Vacant, in 1999. The case study Pop-Up Stores: A growing retail strategy’, describes how Miller was inspired to create the pop-up concept following a trip to Tokyo. The company wanted to test the theory that consumers would be eager to purchase limited-edition merchandise from niche retailers. The idea was that stores would open for a set… Read more

Alibaba says open sesame to western markets

MarketLine

  Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has increased the price range of its eagerly anticipated IPO to $66-$68 per share, adding further value to the offering, which is already expected to be the largest technology IPO in history (surpassing the $16bn raised by Facebook in 2012). The value could even eclipse the largest ever US IPO – that of Agricultural Bank of China in 2010 – if underwriters exercise options to purchase additional shares. The jump in price means that the IPO could now net over $25bn, valuing the company at… Read more

Russian e-commerce market presents significant business opportunities for those able to overcome its challenges

MarketLine

With 84.4 million internet users and 27 million online shoppers Russia is already the largest online community in Europe and growing rapidly. With a skyrocketing number of Internet users, but a still underdeveloped commercial environment, the opportunity to build a successful online selling business in Russia is huge. The biggest growth areas are mostly in the remote regions, where growth is 50% higher than in central cities. Even amid a slowing economy, the country’s online shopping kept increasing at a double digit rate in 2013, making it the fastest expanding… Read more

Pinterest: social network drives engagement and sales

MarketLine

Retailers are increasingly using social media to enhance their brands, boost consumer engagement, and drive traffic and sales. Pinterest is a particular area of focus; the social network, founded in 2010, is fairly new and growing fast. The image-based network has been found to generate sales, and retail giants such as Target and Nordstrom have utilized this. Social media is used globally Billions of people around the world use social media, and retailers are increasingly witnessing the benefits of this. A study found that 89% of marketers reported found increased… Read more

Extensive marketing campaigns do little to improve Marks and Spencer’s sales

MarketLine

M&S’, one of the leading apparel retailers in the UK; clothing sales have declined for the 10th consecutive quarter.  As discussed in the MarketLine case study, High street fashion retailers: Survival of the fittest, this was partly because of heavy discounting over the Christmas period. 2014 is also proving to be a difficult year for M&S; the company reported underlying pre-tax profits had dropped by 4% to £623m (approx. $973.9m) in the 52 weeks to March 29 2014. The drop in profits was driven by a 1.4% fall in like… Read more

Alibaba to float in the US, with the potential to become the largest IPO ever

MarketLine

The Chinese internet retailer Alibaba plans to float in the US in the biggest initial public offering since Facebook’s IPO in 2012. Although little known outside China, the group dominates e-commerce in its home country, with the Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) metric putting Alibaba at $171.2bn for 2012; compared to Amazon’s $87.8bn and eBay’s $67.8bn. The company’s announcement on Sunday did not give details of the timing or size of the flotation or which exchange it would use, with initial estimates valuing the offering at between $60-120bn. When Facebook floated… Read more

The rise of e-commerce in fashion in supermarkets

MarketLine

The increasing popularity of online retail has resulted in an increase in online purchases making it an attractive means for retailers to drive top line growth. Asda has boosted its presence in the online marketplace with its website direct.asda.com which offers a wide range of products including its own clothing brand, George. Asda sells over one million products across ‘Asda Direct’ and ‘George.com’, it can utilize the opportunity to market its presence across the globe through Internet services and increase its customer base. Furthermore, enhancement of the internet service could… Read more

Fashion in supermarkets not supermarket fashion

MarketLine

The UK apparel retail industry has experienced fluctuating levels of low growth in recent years which may potentially make it less attractive to new entrants. During a time of financial crisis and low disposable income, consumers are less likely to buy expensive designer wear. According to British national newspaper, the Telegraph, two-thirds of people reported living on less disposable income than last year (2012), and are trying to stretch out a low monthly expenditure budget of £192 ($304). Supermarkets have been able to establish themselves during the economic downturn by… Read more

Apple’s new iPads to offer greater profit opportunities?

MarketLine

Apple Inc’s (Apple) latest additions to its iPad tablet range show that it continues to focus on the high-end of the market. The addition of a Retina display to the iPad mini, in conjunction with a price increase, demonstrates that the company continues to value premium, profitable products. The replacement of last year’s flagship iPad with the new iPad Air also marks an attempt to continue premium profitability, as the company continues to offer its iPad 2 at $399. Further premiuzation of the iPad mini This time last year, I… Read more

The UK high street and the need for change

MarketLine

In recent years, the UK high street has become synonymous with decay as once thriving town and city centers struggle to attract shoppers. The rise of e-commerce, ‘showrooming’, and reduced consumer spending and confidence are significant factors in the decline. If they are to enjoy a fruitful future, many retailers must embrace change and adapt the way they operate to suit 21st Century consumer needs. In recent years, the UK high street has become synonymous with decay. According to a report from UK TV station Channel 4, 25,000 town center… Read more

Frito-Lay SunChips: When Sustainable Packaging Conflicts With Consumers’ Sensory Needs

MarketLine

Savory snack giant Frito-Lay re-launched its popular SunChips healthier snacking range in the US and Canada in plant-based, 100%-compostable packaging, but the noise created when the product was used led to a significant consumer backlash. As a result, the company has reverted to conventional packaging for most of its SunChips lines in the US, although it has retained the compostable packaging in Canada. This article examines how a lack of attention paid to the packaging’s sensory qualities, to consumers’ key needs from snack packaging, and to managing potential problems in… Read more

E3 2013: Sony gains upper hand over Microsoft

MarketLine

Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) and Sony Corporation (Sony) took to the stage yesterday for their E3 2013 press conferences, with Microsoft focusing on exclusive games, and Sony focusing on the PlayStation 4 itself. In terms of strategy, Sony has opted for a value, gamer focused proposition, which gives it an advantage, while Microsoft’s console will retail at a higher price point, but will include a Kinect sensor. Online services will continue to see a greater focus in the next generation, but digital rights management (DRM) strategy may become the main differentiator… Read more

Craft Beers in the US & UK: How Mainstream Brewers can Benefit From the Trend Towards Craft Beers

MarketLine

Amid data showing that the craft beer sub-sector has posted strong growth in an otherwise dismal US beer category, brewer MillerCoors has pooled all its craft-style domestic and international brands into a new craft-focused division called Tenth and Blake. The UK real ale sub-sector is also showing positive growth in a poor overall environment. The success of craft beer has arisen as it dovetails with various important consumer trends: it fits with the general trend towards trading up; it capitalizes on desires to purchase authentic products; it goes with the… Read more

Inditex’s expansion in emerging markets

MarketLine

Industria de Diseno Textil SA (Inditex), founded in 1963 by Amancio Ortega Gaona, opened its first Zara shop in 1975 in A Coruna, Spain. The company is continuing to grow and has now become a leading player in international/ emerging markets. In 2012 new stores were opened in 64 markets, including the initial launches in five countries: Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, Georgia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Sales rose 16%, with Asia’s share of Inditex’s total revenues growing to 20% from 18%. Inditex’s international success has been driven by… Read more

How much are Superman’s glasses?

MarketLine

If bought online, they can come as cheap as $95 with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. Warby Parker, the eyewear company that sells prescription glasses and sunglasses almost exclusively online and at a relatively low cost, has created a new collection of plastic frames inspired by the upcoming superhero movie – Superman Man of Steel. The company, founded in 2010, has seen some impressive growth in the last couple of years. It has increased its headcount from four to 113 employees, beat its own yearly sales projections… Read more