Over the next ten years, online retail will gain even more importance than expected so far – not just in developed countries, but also in emerging markets. Logistics will play a key role: it provides companies important competitive advantages, such as deliveries within a few hours on the day of ordering, flexible receiving and return times as well as resilient logistics and value-added concepts in emerging countries.
This is one of the key findings of the “Global E-Tailing 2025” study, initiated by Deutsche Post DHL with participation of the trend research institutions Z_punkt and See More as well as numerous international experts from retail, logistics and academia. It is the first global scenario study on cross-border online commerce and its implications for the logistics industry.
In four scenarios the study shows what the electronic world of shopping around the globe could look like for consumers and businesses in the near future. The different future projections are based on a detailed analysis of the most influential factors – from energy and raw material prices to technological, political and social factors to retail and consumption patterns. The scenarios also outline possible effects of changes to society’s value system by 2025. The research examined selected developed and emerging markets around the world. Trend scouts also studied purchasing and logistics trends in 12 international metropolises – among them New York, Moscow, Bangalore, Jakarta and Lagos. These consumer insights anchor the scenarios in today’s world and increase their plausibility.
Today e-commerce makes up eight percent of the overall trading volume in Europe already. Depending on the scenario, this share could rise up to 40 percent in developed countries and up to 30 percent in today’s emerging markets. Jürgen Gerdes, CEO Post – eCommerce – Parcel at Deutsche Post DHL: “In the future, logistics will take over the role as an enabler for online retailers even more than today. We as a logistics company have a good overview on companies in various industries in almost all countries of the world. That’s why we increasingly become an advisor and partner for success.”
From a highly developed digital culture to Do-It-Yourself
In the first scenario, today’s emerging markets will be the engine of growth 11 years from now. A strong global economy and a stable middle class will have established a true “Everywhere Commerce”. Consumers will receive their purchases much faster than today, with Express shipments being delivered in less than 24 hours and measured in minutes. In a different scenario a highly developed digital culture has evolved, in which almost all products will be sold online and consumers will receive support by avatars. To protect manufacturers from counterfeit, logistics companies will offer protected supply chains.
However, the study not just portrays positive future projections of worldwide e-tailing, but also possible crisis scenarios. Scenario four outlines how the worldwide consumption patterns develop after the global economy will have suffered another financial crisis and energy and raw material prices have risen considerably. Under these circumstances, people could adopt a Do-It-Yourself mentality instead and sharing models instead of the “all new” approach.
Changed consumer behavior influences retail sector
The scenario analysis is supplemented by multiple essays from renowned logistics experts: Prof. Dr. Dirk Moschett of Fribourg University in Switzerland underpins the necessity for all of society to bundle supply flows more efficiently. Professor Geritt Heinemann, of the University of the Lower Rhine elaborates in his “E-Pace” contribution on the importance of timing for the success of online retail. Professor Shashi Matta of Ohio State University analyses how changes in consumer behavior, e.g. trends such as sustainability or crowd-shaping, affect online retail. Best practice solutions, which Deutsche Post DHL already implemented for electronic retail, showcase the range of solutions and service in logistics.
All scenarios and contributions have in common that the competition in electronic retail, whether on global, national or regional level, will become more intense. Jürgen Gerdes: “We don’t know for certain what the world will look like in 2025, but the study’s various scenarios show how rapid the global retail sector – online and offline – is changing and that logistics will be a focal point of these change processes.”
Deutsche Post DHL’s strategy 2020 including the pillars Focus, Connect and Grow shows that the Group is in an excellent position for these developments. A part of this strategy is to expand the group’s leading position in e-commerce related logistics – in Germany, Europe, and beyond. An essential pillar of this expansion is the division Post – eCommerce – Parcel. “As the most international company in the logistics industry, we’re destined to establish our successful e-commerce related B2C business in non-European markets. We see huge potential to become the world’s leading provider for e-commerce logistics in a few years”, emphasizes Jürgen Gerdes.