News and Publications
Economic Publications

Focus e-commerce / distribution

Focus e-commerce / distribution

Coface releases a series of economic reports and is pleased to announce the publication of its second Panorama sector report.

Readers will find in it a global sector barometer which analyses the situation in fourteen key economic sectors. The originality of the analysis is that it is based on aggregating the accounts of 6,000 companies in three of the world’s major regions: the European Union, North America and Emerging Asia. There is an overview of each sector, with reference to a single indicator measuring its dynamism, financial robustness and Coface’s payment experience.

This Panorama also focuses on e-commerce, which is setting the stage for new patterns of global consumption. Within a depressed economic context, this distribution channel has registered double-digit average annual growth since its emergence in the mid-1990s.

We will end with an analysis of the current dynamics of the retail sector in the UK and France. This sector is facing new technological challenges such as e-commerce. The UK is a pioneer with France following, supported by technological soar. The retailers’ economic model is accordingly in transition, which gives rise to risks both for traditional and electronic retailers. The exponential growth in the number of companies suggests an industry consolidation.



The gap between the European and North American sectors is widening. Key sectors such as construction and automotives illustrate the growing divergence between the world’s main economies.


E-commerce around the world

The Internet along with the strong growth of e-commerce has changed the way we do our shopping. However, this is still a niche phenomenon: e-commerce represented, on average, only 8% of world distribution in 2012 (but is expected to rapidly reach 10% or even 15% by 2020). E-commerce represented 11% of distribution in the UK, 9% in Germany and 9% in France in 2012.


France and the uk: The retail sector faces the technology challenge - what are the consequences for business?

The recent insolvencies of large retailers like Surcouf, HMV, Virgin or Game group point to real difficulties encountered by the sector and the major constraints caused by integrating e-commerce in their business model. The force with which the Internet’s impact has been felt across the print media industry presages a far-reaching change to the business fabric. This is driving the move, by the retail sector, towards a single economic model converging bricks and mortar and digital commerce. However, this transition is a source of risk: a technological shock of this kind forces businesses to transform themselves or to suffer the consequences of natural selection. In this paper we first concern ourselves with the characteristics of retail and e-commerce in France and the UK and then go on to analyse the risks associated with the sector. Finally, we ask what new model the retail sector is moving towards.

Download this publication : Focus e-commerce / distribution (742.04 kB)
  • English
  • Français