Retail and e-commerce – January 2024

31 January 2024

Developments in retail
According to ING (in Dutch), high inflation caused a sharp increase in sales for Dutch supermarkets in 2022 and 2023. In 2023, sales growth exceeded 8%. In 2024, however, supermarket sales will decline for the first time in 20 years by about 1.5%, due in part to the ban on tobacco sales in supermarkets.
Direct online sales of food products outside the supermarket are mainly limited to exclusive and long-life products. Research (in Dutch, 1.83 MB) by ABN AMRO (in Dutch) shows that Dutch consumers are willing to buy more products directly from the manufacturer, but that one of the things they expect is a significantly lower price. Manufacturers can get a better grip on their sales if they intensify cooperation with the influential supermarkets.
According to CBS, enterprises in the Netherlands exported €76 billion in goods and services that were ordered online in 2021. This represents 14% of total exports by these firms. The bulk of this e-commerce export value was on account of enterprises within the EU.
According to CBS, nearly 8 in 10 people in the Netherlands made online purchases in 2023. In the first half of 2023, 78% of the population aged 12 or older said they bought something online. This is more than one year previously, and comparable to 2021.
Ecommerce Europe has published an article about the BEA report (1.43 MB) on the e-commerce industry in Bulgaria with figures, trends, volume of the B2C market and ranking of online stores.

Sustainability in retail packaging
A University of Hohenheim study (2.27 MB) entitled ‘Decision-making processes on sustainable packaging options in the European food sector’ has been published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
A study (6.15 MB) by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation shows that returnable packaging has the potential to offer significant environmental benefits, and, once scaled up using the right approach, can compete with the economics of single use packaging for certain products. The study focuses on returnable packaging, which once bought and returned by customers, is professionally cleaned and refilled before being sold again.
Research by (in Dutch) shows that CO2 emissions in the last-mile for an e-commerce package have dropped by 56% compared to 2018, to an average of 100 grams of CO2 per package. You can download the report (in Dutch) after filling in your details.

E-commerce packaging
In a recent report DeliveryX explains why e-commerce packaging is no longer simply about protecting goods in transit. This sector report examines how retailers are adapting their packaging to tell their brand story and why they are ditching plastic. You can download the report after filling in your details. Another DeliveryX report features retailer case studies to showcase best practices and strategies that retailers are using to stay ahead of the competition. These case studies illustrate the significant progress made by leading retailers, brands and marketplaces in prioritising supply chain, logistics, and the delivery/returns experience. You can download the report after filling in your details.
According to a recent Pivotree report, B2B buying behaviour is now aligned with consumer buying behaviour. Many B2B buyers are now digital natives and expect the same level of speed, personalisation, and intuitiveness they have become accustomed to when making purchases for themselves. You can download the report after filling in your details.

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