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VIETNAM

 

Online marketplaces are driving the growth of B2C ecommerce in Vietnam,
according to a report by yStats.com. Its report titled ‘Vietnam B2C E-Commerce Market 2018’ highlights how fashion has become the leading ecommerce product category in the country, purchased by 73% of online shoppers in 2017.

 

Vietnam has one of the most rapidly growing B2C ecommerce markets in Southeast Asia, according to the yStats.com report. In the period through 2021, online retail sales in this country are projected to rise at double digit rates, driven by higher internet penetration rates and more frequent online purchases. Only around 1% of the country’s retail sales were online in 2017, indicating much room for future growth.

 

An increasing number of online shoppers in Vietnam are buying from online marketplaces. These platforms have become important drivers of digital retail development in Vietnam due to their investments into building comprehensive ecommerce ecosystems for warehousing, payment and delivery.

 

On the other hand, social networks such as Facebook also remain among the most popular platforms used by shoppers to place orders online, especially in the categories such as fashion and cosmetics.

 

Overall, competition between ecommerce players is increasing amidst anticipation of further growth in Vietnam. Alibaba-backed Lazada ranked as the most used ecommerce website in 2017, while its major competitor, Tiki.vn raised investment from another Chinese ecommerce leader, JD.com. In the electronics segment, the Mobile World Group is the top contender with the highest online retail market share as of 2017.

 

EUROPE

 

European shoppers are turning to cross-border retailers with 71% buying from retailers outside of their home country. The majority of these shoppers (96%) are buying from marketplaces, according to the UPS Europe Pulse of the Online Shopper study.

 

Many of the shoppers purchasing items online from outside of their country do so because of better prices and the search for a specific brand or product. The study found that top considerations when purchasing from retailers in another country include: payment security (75%); clearly stating the total cost of the order including duties and fees (72%); a clear returns policy (63%); stating all prices in the shopper’s native currency (63%); and the speed of delivery (62%).

 

“The internet has made shopping truly global, enabling retailers to market and sell their products to customers worldwide. Our research shows that nearly three-quarters of European online shoppers buy from countries outside their own, so opportunity is rife for both small and large retailers looking to expand their businesses,” said Abhijit Saha, Vice President of Marketing, UPS Europe. “At UPS, we’ve made it our mission to help them all do business across international borders just as easily as they do business across town.”

 

The UPS study also found that almost all European online shoppers (96%) bought on marketplaces and of those shoppers, 67% cite better prices as a reason for purchasing on a marketplace instead of directly from a retailer. Some 43% cite a broader selection of products within any given category.

 

More than half (52%) of online shoppers in Europe consider the number of shipping options offered key when searching for and selecting products online, while 75% consider free return shipping important. Additionally, 63% of shoppers are interested in shipping to an alternative location with extended hours, if fees are less than shipping to their home.

 

Retailers need to think “mobile first” as the use of smartphones for making purchases proliferates. According to the study, 43% of smartphone users purchased from their device. Shoppers use their mobile devices for a variety of other shopping-related tasks, including to locate stores or store-related information (78%), track orders (78%), and compare prices among retailers (75%).

 

When looking at the UK market specifically, the UPS study reports that 61% of UK online shoppers buy internationally and of those who do, 69% have purchased from a retailer outside of Europe. 59% of those have purchased from a retailer within Europe.

 

As with the rest of Europe, the majority of UK shoppers have purchased on a marketplace with 26% planning to do so more in the future. 38% of initial product searches, on average, begin at a marketplace.

 

More than half (67%) of UK shoppers consider a free shipping option to be important when checking out online, and 72% consider free return shipping important when selecting an online retailer.

 

Meanwhile, consumers in Switzerland spent € 1.22bn in online cross-border purchases in 2017, an increase of 18% on the previous years. However, Switzerland is still not seen as the go-to market for many retailers due to its complexity, according to Seven Senders.

 

CHINA

 

JD.com has launched a Global Supply Chain Innovation Center (GSIC). The international hub for smart supply chain research and innovation aims to bring together global industry experts, companies, universities and other institutions, and will serve as a platform to share resources, expertise, insights, and technologies, and to work together on research projects focused on new technologies and processes, empowering more enterprises with smart supply chain capabilities. The GSIC will operate across six international regions – China, Silicon Valley and Chicago in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia.

 

Commenting on the launch, Yu Yongli, head of JD.com’s JD Y business unit, which is focused on smart supply chain innovation, said, “JD.com has built up an incredible wealth of expertise and experience in supply chain management, including cutting-edge technologies like AI, big data, blockchain and Internet of Things. By sharing our resources with leading experts from academia and business, and supporting R&D of emerging technologies, we will empower the GSIC to develop the next generation of smart supply chain infrastructure. These technologies both enhance our own business and enable companies around the world.”

 

The Chinese retailer has also launched AI Catapult to accelerate development of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. Beginning in March, AI Catapult, which is part of JD’s AI program, will partner with innovative blockchain startups to build new businesses and create and test real-world applications of their technologies at scale. Participating startups will have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of operational teams within JD which, in addition to being the largest retailer in its home market, also operates the largest nationwide last-mile logistics network.

 

JD is also extending its smart home platform, Alpha, to the auto industry, making it possible for drivers to control smart home devices and make ecommerce purchases directly from their cars. Through a partnership Geely’s 2018 Boyue SUV will be the first model to include JD’s Alpha-powered connected car solution. The solution leverages JD’s capabilities in AI, IoT and big data to provide users with access to services including location services, smart reminders, vehicle management, data analysis, voice control and other smart services. The 2018 Boyue SUVs that integrate JD’s technology will support the control of over 1,000 smart home appliances and devices such as smart air purifiers, air conditioners, lighting and speakers.

 

The cooperation with Geely marks JD’s official entrance into the connected car market.

 

JD.com Vice President Dr Kefeng Li said, “This partnership will bring unprecedented convenience to car drivers. As we continue to push the limits of retail, online and offline, by integrating new smart solutions and products, our advanced technology is making it easier and more convenient for our users to shop wherever and whenever they choose. In extending Alpha to cars, the sky is the limit in terms of other connected services we can offer drivers in the future. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to realize this vision.”

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