The UK’s independent Centre for Retail Research has confirmed that the online retail sector is the main driver of growth in European retailing, achieving a growth rate of 18.6% in 2015 and an expected rate of 16.7% in 2016.
By comparison, the annual growth rates for all types of retailing range between 1.5% and 3.5% per annum. The CRR study found that the recession had induced many shoppers to switch from traditional stores to online, assisted by the ease of use of internet search engines. Smartphones with larger screens, and the popularisation of simplified, one-touch check-out, is accelerating the market.
Online sales in the UK are predicted to reach £60 billion (€78 billion) for 2016, a growth rate of 14.9%. It’s a huge opportunity, for those who can take part.
A newly launched Irish online store is now surfing that wave of retail companies abandoning the high street for the growing e-commerce market in the UK. Tiledevil.co.uk, a retailer of bathroom and kitchen tiles, launched earlier this year, with initial sales registering immediately.
Hilary Emerson, Tile Devil’s Online Sales Director, commented: “Six months in, and we are delighted with the volumes of traffic we are receiving, already in excess of several thousand per month. It confirms that we made the correct decision to move online; our sales from this platform are growing by the week.”
The CRR figures appear to substantiate this sentiment.
Based in Dublin, Ireland, Tile Devil can sell into the UK with ease, due to the EU Commission’s ceaseless efforts to break down all barriers to a single EU market. Ms. Emerson summed this up, saying: “The Directive on Consumer Rights (enacted two years ago) has ensured that consumer protection regulations are the same throughout the entire EU block. The EU provides a level playing field for efficient companies to expand across borders.”
Tile Devil is using this to their advantage in driving down prices. Typically, online prices are half those offered by the high street merchants.
Brexit, she feels, might cause extra hassle and paperwork, but should not reduce Tile Devil’s competitiveness.
“The vast majority of tiles sold in the UK are manufactured in Spain and Italy,” she said. “Currently, everyone in our industry is purchasing in euros, and selling in sterling. The UK leaving the European Union will not change that. However, every company has had to increase their selling prices due to the ever decreasing value of the pound.”
Tiledevil.co.uk delivers all over the UK and Ireland.