E-Commerce Report Switzerland

Recent press release on the E-Commerce Report Switzerland

From mass products to individual value

Datatrans and the FHNW present the latest trends in online distribution with the E-Commerce Report Switzerland 2019.

Press release on the E-Commerce Report Switzerland 2019, Zurich, 27 June 2019

Once upon a time, the Internet opened up access to a massive marketplace. Now, consumers are tired of the volume of mass-produced goods and are seeking offers with complementary services and individual value. Providers hoping for success in the face of competition must recognise that in the future, manufacturers will no longer decide what people buy, rather customers will decide what distribution networks should deliver.

Strong web-based consumption is increasing. In 2018, online purchases in Switzerland amounted to almost 10 billion francs. This represents a 10% increase in e-commerce volumes. The participants in the study expect this growth to continue in 2019 as well.

Foreign platforms enjoy disproportionate growth
The value of orders placed through platforms abroad has risen considerably, by 16%. Over the past five years, foreign providers have increased in size more than twice as quickly as those in Switzerland. Today, 22% of online trade is accounted for by foreign business. Disproportionately high growth is anticipated again in 2019.

From linear distribution chains to a customer-centric model
Traditionally, the consumer goods industry was a value chain that started with the manufacturer and ended with the consumer, with the gap bridged by the wholesaler and retailer. Now, digital platforms such as online marketplaces, social media and search engines are tearing up the old roles and positioning themselves between the retailer and consumer with additional useful services. As a result, the customer is in control. Digital platforms are the customer’s enablers – providers can only reach the customer through them.

Retail is decreasing in importance, losing out to a new connected world of supply
The round-the-clock availability of offers online means that regional retail businesses are less important. In Switzerland, stores are already closing and sales floors are becoming smaller. All stages of the distribution chain are under pressure. As a result, a new connected world of supply is emerging, offering many different opportunities for cooperation.

Customers are online, brands are getting on board
Brands have to engage more online in order to reach customers at the key touch points on the web. Brand profiles are shaped by own services, reflecting valuable information about customers and the way they buy. However, brands’ own B2C stores are primarily a marketing tool and by 2025 will only represent a small proportion of brands’ sales volumes.

Retailers can establish a niche with virtual product ranges
Instead of filling huge shop floors, retailers in the future will operate smaller, more intensively managed stores. Virtual product ranges are one approach: the products available in store will be complemented by others in additional colours and sizes that can be ordered there and then. 

Profiting from growth requires continual investment
E-commerce remains a very dynamic and competitive business, with prospects for continued high levels of growth. To keep pace with the competition, companies must constantly expand their services and make their processes more efficient. E-commerce requires continual investment in IT and logistics. Companies will find the greatest opportunities in customisation and relationship management.  

Smart mobile solutions increase conversion

Making purchases on smartphones is becoming increasingly popular. Businesses are targeting their marketing to smartphone users to improve conversion rates in the mobile segment. Mobile solutions that feature seamless payments with predefined payment information offer a simple method, especially for regular purchases, that also increases customer loyalty. Smart public transport ticket systems from Fairtiq and SBB Easy Ride, and the cashless avec box kiosk from Valora are showing the way ahead.

Growth trend for e-commerce remains stable for years to come
The study panel’s expectations for growth in e-commerce in the coming years are high: At least two thirds of the businesses surveyed believe that e-commerce sales in their sector will rise by 50% or more by 2025. None of the respondents expect online business to stagnate or fall.


E-Commerce Report Switzerland 2019 in briefSince 2009, the E-Commerce Report Switzerland has been investigating the values, changes and trends affecting sales to consumers. It is the only such study prepared from the perspective of the provider. The survey is realised by Datatrans in conjunction with FHNW, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.

Topics covered in the E-Commerce Report Switzerland 2019

  • The position of Swiss e-commerce in 2019
  • Value of foreign providers online
  • Supplier-managed distribution chains vs. customer-centric distribution
  • The winners are those who provide access to customers, such as search engines, online marketplaces and social media
  • Situation and priorities for branded goods manufacturers
  • Situation for traditional retailers
  • Decreasing retail footprint
  • Digitalisation of physical store businesses
  • Potential for omni-channel concepts
  • Online retail situation
  • Growth expectations and profitability 
  • Engagement in web marketplaces
  • Chinese advances in mobile commerce
  • AMIGOS – social shopping
  • The connected world of supply in 2025


  • Long-term study, repeated annually since 2009 
  • Empirical data, primarily qualitative
  • Collection: Interviews with experts and surveys
  • Collection period: 9 January to 23 April 2019


  • 35 online and multi-channel providers of consumer goods and services in Switzerland that are potentially significant for the market, with an e-commerce volume of some CHF 4 billion
  • Selection criteria: Proven success in e-commerce over several years, industry significance, degree of business model innovation

Institute for Information Systems at FHNW on behalf of Datatrans, Switzerland’s leading Payment Service Provider.

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More information


  • Prof. Ralf Wölfle, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW
    Head of Competence Centre E-Business
    061 279 17 55, [email protected]
  • Urs Kisling, Datatrans AG
    044 256 81 91, [email protected]
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