Christoph Langenberg, Data Analyst and Project Manager E-Commerce Research at the EHI: “However, as is the case in the German market, sales growth is largely concentrated at the top of the rankings.” Image: EHI
Retail

Online Retailing in Alpine Countries: Further up the Mountain

A study conducted by EHI and Statista examines the e-commerce markets in Austria and Switzerland.

Online sales in Austria and Switzerland continue to develop in a positive direction. The 250 online shops with the highest sales in 2017 each reported an increase in sales.

“However, as is the case in the German market, sales growth is largely concentrated at the top of the rankings,” explains Christoph Langenberg, Data Analyst and Project Manager E-Commerce Research at the EHI Retail Institute (EHI). The use of social media continues to be very popular in both countries. Instagram is the overall leader in both Alpine countries. These are some of the results of the “E-commerce Market Austria/Switzerland 2018” study carried out by EHI and Statista.

Digitec.ch ahead of the Pack in Switzerland

In Austria, the 250 online shops that recorded the highest sales in 2017 generated a total of EUR 2.7 billion from physical goods on the Internet, representing an increase in sales of 9.2 percent over the previous year’s figure of EUR 2.5 billion. Market concentration increased further. EUR 1.4 billion, equivalent to 51.1 percent of the total turnover of the ranking, was attributable to the Top 10. The ranking was led by amazon.de, zalando.at, and universal.at.

Switzerland’s top 250 online shops closed the 2017 financial year with sales of CHF 7.0 billion. The previous year’s figure was CHF 6.6 billion, corresponding to growth of 5.7 percent. Growth in this segment was also largely concentrated among the top 10 providers, which generated 46.2 percent of total sales, amounting to CHF 3.2 billion. Digitec.ch topped the ranking of the top 250, but zalando.ch was right on the heels of the top performer. Third place went to amazon.de, which posted sales of CHF 431.6 million.

Austria’s International Flair

The e-commerce market in Austria boasts a strong international character. Nearly half of the 250 top-selling shops in Austria come from abroad. Of the 124 foreign shops, a total of 91 are headquartered in Germany.

Anton Salesny, university assistant at the Institute of Retailing and Marketing at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration and cooperation partner of the study, commented on this development: “Contrary to the e-commerce market in Switzerland, the majority of Austrian Internet sales continues to flow into international online trade.”

In Switzerland, the share of foreign online shops ranked among the top 250 is currently just over a quarter. Of the 64 foreign shops in Switzerland, more than half, 38, come from Germany.

Instagram Prevails

Instagram continues to gain popularity in Austria and was the only social media platform to attract users among the top 250 online shops in 2018. Whereas 70.0 percent of the top 250 were represented on Instagram in 2017, by 2018, the figure had risen to 77.6 percent. All other platforms lost users or remained at the previous year’s level. Even Facebook, which is still the most frequently used social media platform, slipped from 96.0 percent to 90.8 percent.

A similar pattern emerged in Switzerland. In this case, Facebook slightly declined from 94.4 percent to 92.8 percent. Of the top 250 online shops, 67.2 percent have an Instagram profile (previous year: 62.0 percent). At 0.8 percent, Pinterest also recorded a slight increase. All other platforms have lost popularity among the top-selling shops in Switzerland.

 

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