Over the last year, UK retail has shifted inexorably online. The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the UK's population being locked down. Pushing consumers towards buying online and accelerating a switch to digital. New shopping behaviors will continue to develop as lockdowns are still being enforced. Factor in Brexit’s as-yet unknowable impacts and 2021 promises to be a year of continual change – a state which potentially favors the most disruptive and innovative of retailers.
"The new 2021 Top500 list looks very different from the one which was published a year ago. Some retailers have expanded quickly, capitalizing on their already strong digital capabilities and the luck of operating in a category deemed essential. Meanwhile, some household names have lost market share or even gone out of business," says Ian Jindal, CEO and Editor-in-Chief.
The RetailX Top500 shows that most of the retailers in the Top500 are active within the category of fashion accessories. This is followed by clothing, footwear, homeware and jewellery. Furthermore, the report shows that 342 retailers of the Top500 have their headquarters located in the United Kingdom. Followed by the United States (64), Germany (12), Italy (12) and France (10).
The Elite and Leading groups of the Top500 represent those retailers that have led the way for the e-commerce and multichannel industry over the last year. Amongst these groups are retailers such as Adidas, Amazon, ASOS, H&M, Marks & Spencer and Tesco. Amazon is ranked Elite for the seventh consecutive year. It’s both the only retailer to achieve this. In addition to also being the only pure-play that has consistently appeared in the Elite ranking.
This year almost 100 new retailers have joined the RetailX UK Top500. Ultimately, this reflects a year with much turbulence for the industry. Well-known brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Camper, Etsy, Forever 21 and SportsShoes have joined the Top500 in 2021.
The more localized a website can be, the more likely it is that international shoppers will buy from it. Only, one in five retailers (22%) enable shoppers to choose which currency they can pay in. On the other hand, 41% of marketplaces offer this choice to their customers. In addition, 21% of retailers selling in the UK now offers its customers the ability to choose the language that they see the website, compared to 13% in 2020. The choice
of languages tends to be more available on marketplaces (37%). Moreover, in 2020 most retailers (51%) enable shoppers to select the country they are buying from in order to have a more localized experience, compared to 47% 2019. Meanwhile, marketplaces (78%) and brands (72%) are among those more likely to enable this.
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