eCommerce Trends

Looking back at retail in 2023

Looking back at retail in 2023

At the start of 2023 research by Retail Assist found that 82% of retailers were planning for significant growth, with a focus on technology, omnichannel commerce, supply chain resilience, data-driven strategies and developing ESG (environmental, social and governance).

Social platforms such as TikTok, Facebook and Instagram have made it quicker and easier for consumers worldwide to share their shopping stories and engage with brands, but the development of eCommerce in social media is still progressing slowly.

While 43% of consumers browse these platforms to find goods and services, only 14% were buying via social media at the end of 2023 and it’s crucial for retailers to keep up with technologies customer expectations and maintain a competitive edge.

UK inflation rose to 19.1% during 2023 – the steepest rise in 45 years – due to rocketing price increases across everything, amid rising commodity, energy and labour costs.

Soaring prices put retailers under particular pressure, with consumer spending squeezed throughout the year. Inflation only began to ease in the 4th quarter, but shoppers remained cautious, with 64% planning to reduce their spending over Christmas.

Despite the many economic challenges, the UK high street blossomed in early 2023, as in-store fashion sales increased 7.9% year on year at the end of May. However, within two months a wet start to the Sumer saw growth slip back to 2.3%, with the unseasonable weather rolling on, until an unexpected heatwave in September.

As the year drew to a close retail figures painted a bleak picture as total like-for-like sales fell by -0.3% compared to 2022’s figures, and with significant discounts failing to rally UK shoppers, fashion was the hardest hit sector, as in-store sales suffered a -3.6% drop on 2022.

The UK eCommerce may still be challenging, but after success in the USA, Chinese online giants Temu and Shein came to the UK, with Temu launching in April and becoming the UK’s most downloaded shopping app for five consecutive months.

Meanwhile, online fashion giant Shein continued its UK assault, acquiring Missguided and expressing interest in Topshop. Generating more than £1bn in sales last year, it has already become one of the top 10 UK apparel firm’s by market share.

Both the new entrants offer free delivery and returns.

And great delivery and returns experience will continue to be a key driver of online spending in 2024, with 66% of shoppers confirming that free labels, returns and packaging are a key incentive to shop online, closely followed by reliable delivery at 61%.

Noatum Logistics’ eCommerce order fulfilment solutions are integrated into our UK, Europe and international courier management systems, which offer online retailers access to 15 of the biggest couriers and market-leading rates, with the option to add further carriers, without limit.

When shoppers place items in their shopping cart, the lowest shipping cost (if applicable) and quickest delivery date is shown, while the courier management system automatically allocates the best-fit courier and books delivery, as the checkout completes.

Shipment data is transferred to the carrier and the package label printed, ready for despatch, while the customer gets their delivery confirmation email, with tracking and returns links.

EMAIL Hannah Porter to learn more.