The digital age and rise of online shopping have driven an unprecedented business model shift for consumer product manufacturers and retailers. Many traditional consumer businesses and new start-ups alike are moving away from models that are shop- centric or geographically-focused, to ones that are customer-centric and virtually borderless.

Among the different age groups, Generation X consumers (born between 1966 and 1981) made more online purchases last year than any other age group, averaging nearly 19 transactions per year. Interestingly, despite the common belief that the upswing in online shopping is largely driven by the younger and more ’tech-savvy‘ Millennials (born between 1982 and 2001), Generation X consumers in fact made 20 percent more purchases last year than their younger counterparts.

  • E-commerce sales by businesses in the UK non-financial sector were £688 billion in 2018, rising from £582 billion in 2017; at 18%, this was the largest annual growth seen since comparable records began in 2014.
  • Growth in total e-commerce sales has been mainly driven by an increase in website sales of £138 billion since 2014, while electronic data interchange (EDI) sales have increased by £37 billion.
  • In 2018, 20.5% of the turnover of businesses with 10 or more employees was from e-commerce, up from 18.6% in 2017.

The online shopping landscape is gradually changing in terms of the types of products being bought online. Generally, consumers’ planned online purchases indicated a year over year increase for most product categories. These results signal a higher willingness to buy new product categories online, particularly those more traditionally sold in shops. For example, greater options for shipping and delivery have made it easier and more common to buy bulkier products online—including furniture, appliances and even vehicles. Meanwhile, although ‘easier to ship’ products such as books, music, electronics, accessories and apparel remain the most popular online categories, relative growth in these segments is expected to be minimal.

On the other hand, bigger items such as household goods and appliances, furniture, home décor and sporting goods show some of the highest growth potential. According to respondents’ planned online purchases for the coming year, online sales of household goods and appliances are expected to increase by 3.5 percentage points, furniture and home décor by 4.3 points and sporting goods and equipment by 4.4 points.Telecom products and fragrances are categories that are also expected to grow, by 4.5 and 2.8 percentage points respectively, as are wine, liquor and art. In general, growth categories tend to be those which do not need trial and/or where consumers can have relatively more faith in product quality.

The companies recognised within this year’s British Online Awards are transforming the online experience by creating innovative businesses of the future and building diverse teams built on sustainable values which attract the best and brightest from around the world.

Until now it has been hard to identify the best companies when it comes to the online landscape. The British Online Awards will provide a long-awaited index of the most innovative online disrupters in the UK and will shine a light on best practice across all strands of e-commerce including, customer service, engagement, digital impact, communication with internal and external stakeholders, product quality continuity and international sales.

The Exceptional Organisations and Leadership report will be launched within a high-quality silver foiled publication. The Exceptional organisations shortlisted within the report can choose to have additional editorial pages, showcasing their success to the world and promoting their company to a prestigious audience of engaged influencers.

The companies featured within the final Exceptional Organisations and Leadership shortlist will then be put forward for the prestigious British Online Awards. The British Online Awards presentation will take place at a star-studded reception in Central London and it will, without doubt, catch the attention of the local, national and international media. Key influential decision makers will be in attendance to witness this exciting launch and the initiative will herald a new era for promoting Britain’s leading men & women across the world within the online and e-commerce sectors.

The British Online Awards presentation may take place virtually.