Smartphone shopping boosts online trade

The Swiss online shopping trend is particularly benefiting foreign retailers. Keystone

Online shopping accounts for an ever bigger slice of the Swiss retail market as shopping via smartphone also becomes more popular with consumers, says a new report.

This content was published on June 21, 2019 minutes

Last year, Swiss consumers placed online orders worth a total of almost CHF 10 billion ($10 billion), according to the "E-Commerce Report 2019" published on Thursday. This represents an increase of 10 percent compared with the previous year.

Growth of shopping via mobile phones was particularly strong last year, the report says.

As in previous years, foreign companies such as Amazon particularly benefited from Swiss people's desire to shop. Foreign providers have developed more than twice as fast as their local counterparts over the past five years, according to the report.

One reason for buying online abroad is that certain products are not available in Switzerland, according to report author Professor Ralf Wölfle of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). He said some products were also very expensive in Switzerland.

The situation therefore remains worrying for traditional retailers. The main attraction of online shopping is that consumers are not tied to the opening hours of shops and "they have access to a range of items many times larger than a normal shop,” says Wölfle.

Growth in e-commerce is expected to continue unabated for the time being. A good two-thirds of those surveyed for the report assume that online sales will increase by 50 percent or more by 2025. Not a single respondent expected a decline.

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