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Which factors could hinder the future success of UK eCommerce?

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  • Mar 04,2022
  • By Admin

It is no secret that in the past number of years, eCommerce has undergone something of a boom period. While we have seen growth in the sector in sustained increments over the better part of two decades, few would credibly claim to have foreseen the acceleration seen in recent years.

There are a number of factors which fuelled this growth - most notably, the Covid-19 pandemic. some obvious, and some less so. For many, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic marked the starting pistol for a frenetic period for online retail.

The figures speak for themselves. Prior the pandemic, in February 2020, eCommerce’s slice of the total UK retail market stood at 19.1%. By January 2021, less than one year later, this share had nearly doubled again – to 37.7%. This can be attributed to the ongoing social restrictions, traditional peak holiday retail season, and the growing familiarity with online retail for a variety of goods.

However, it is worth noting that these were peak figures. The latest data shows a 27.7% share - still an extraordinary acceleration on modest but steady growth rates we had seen in the sector for many years prior, but one which raises worthy questions around the next steps for online retail.

So, if eCommerce does prove to have a ceiling, which factors will hasten its arrival?

Data security

A consumer study conducted by McKinsey in 2020 found that most (87%) customers would not do business with a company where they held concerns over their security practices. And these concerns are arguably valid. Figures suggest that cyber fraud has increased 179% in the UK in a decade, with half of Brits having lost money as a result.

Legislative responses have gone some way to addressing these fears. In the UK, GDPR introduced minimum standards for data protection and encouraged transparency from companies on how personal data will be used. However, it does not create a barrier to bad actors misusing data, nor anu business from using customer data in ways that might be considered untrustworthy..

It should also be noted that cybercrime is becoming more sophisticated by the day, and even the largest companies are leaking user data as a result of attacks. Accordingly, it is not enough for businesses to be transparent around their data use policies – they must also reflect an attitude of commitment to investing in evolving their security measures to meet new threats.


Without considered market and consumer awareness, substantive commitment to security practices on an ongoing basis, and a robust logistics strategy to fluidly adjust to challenges as supply chain pressures swell, small to medium businesses will be less capable than before of breaking into key consumer markets.

Can this section be replaced with one about logistics/supply chain concerns (use the EFR piece for reference)? just as it;s a blog, we can afford to be a bit more promotional for OWE