The battle to boost the economy via retail is far from lost according to Shopify’s State of Commerce Report. Consumers and businesses continue to face strong macroeconomic headwinds across Europe. And the study notes that a value conundrum exists between the two.

Despite half (50%) of European consumers looking for the best value they can find, the majority (82%) of businesses are passing on some, or all, cost increases to the customer. This is slightly lower in the UK at 81%. The vast majority (85% in Europe, 82% in the UK) of consumers would be more loyal if brands were to offer them something. For example, high quality goods or service, promotions, and surprises. But consumers also still expect a human touch to their shopping experience.

However, only 6% of UK businesses surveyed said they were planning to significantly invest in customer experience this year. According to Shopify, this represents a missed opportunity for many businesses. The report recommends that businesses find ways to either reduce prices. Alternatively, they should offer additional value if they are to maintain brand loyalty and keep consumers on side.

The report uncovers what businesses are prioritising and what consumers across the continent currently feel and want.

Shopify State of Commerce Report – key European findings include:

  • Discretionary spending has reduced over the last 12 months for almost half (46%) of consumers.
  • Over half (53%) said a better price/value of a product was one reason why they have previously bought a brand different to their usual choice. Meanwhile 23% would switch to a rival brand if it meant saving money.
  • Over two-thirds (67%) think it is important brands offer a good integrated experience between online and offline, growing to 74% of those who have increased their spend over the last twelve months.
  • Almost half (47%) said they expect brands to offer a tech-enabled shopping experience, while 35% said they would be more loyal to brands offering them.
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) believe AI will make at least one aspect of shopping easier. But businesses have concerns about delivering a less authentic or human experience to shoppers.

Deann Evans, Managing Director, EMEA of Shopify, said: “This study provides actionable insights and trends from thousands of retailers and consumers on selling and shopping in 2024 and beyond. It shows surprising and delighting shoppers should remain a priority. While new technology, including generative AI tools, offer new ways to engage consumers and drive crucial efficiencies, brands should continue to maintain a personal touch. And deliver a consistent experience in every place a customer shops.”

The full report is available via this link

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