Identifying Key Retail Partners for Brands to Expand E-Commerce Sales

July 2023

As the world moves beyond COVID-19, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands must navigate a reality in which e-commerce growth has slowed dramatically from the lofty heights of the pandemic. Using insights obtained from Euromonitor International’s new Passport: E-Commerce system, this briefing provides guidance for brands on which retailers they should prioritise partnering with in order to boost digital sales across beauty and personal care, food and beverages, and home products categories.

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Key findings

Choosing the right retail partners is critical for FMCG brands looking to expand their share of digital sales

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands must continue to deal with one of the pandemic’s lasting legacies - a permanently elevated rate of e-commerce penetration. As e-commerce sales growth begins to normalise in the wake of the pandemic, however, it is more important than ever that brands look to grow their digital sales partnerships with retailers that understand the online space and can present their products to the largest possible number of consumers.

Amazon is the retailer to beat in beauty and personal care e-commerce, but beauty specialists have a fighting chance

Online marketplace giant Amazon has established itself as the benchmark for all other retailers in the beauty and personal care e-commerce space. Yet, despite Amazon’s near-dominant position, opportunities exist for other retailers to increase their online beauty and personal care sales, as well - particularly beauty specialists, such as Nykaa in India and Douglas in Germany, that succeed due to their unique understanding of local tastes in their home markets.

Walmart leads the fragmented food and beverages e-commerce space thanks to its strength in click-and-collect

Although Amazon is the leading retailer in online sales across most FMCG industries, in food and beverages, it is eclipsed by Walmart, the world’s leading grocery retailer. Walmart leverages it vast network of brick-and-mortar stores to fulfil click-and-collect orders of perishable items that are ill-suited for home delivery - underscoring the advantage that physical outlets provide to legacy grocers looking to expand online food and beverages sales.

Digitally-native pet care specialists provide a blueprint for success for other home products e-commerce players

Digitally-native pet specialists, such as Chewy in the US and ZooPlus in Europe, have shown that specialist retailers can compete with, and even surpass, online marketplace operators in the realm of pet care e-commerce. In doing so, they have created a model that other specialist retailers in the home products e-commerce space can follow - a model built around customer loyalty and hassle-free, automated re-ordering of regularly purchased items.

About the data used in this report
Key takeaways
Despite slowing sales growth, e-commerce remains the primary driver of global retail sales
How to grow online channels as e-commerce growth normalises
Three categories constitute the majority of global beauty and personal care sales by value
Other retailers are playing catch-up to Amazon globally
The fourth quarter of the year looms large in beauty and personal care e-commerce
Amazon’s relative weakness in fragrances gives other e-commerce retailers an opening
Beauty specialist Douglas appeals to European digital consumers
Retail generalists find success with online sales of skin care products
Hypermarkets operator Target has carved out a place for itself
Amazon leads in global colour cosmetics online, but national champions emerge
Nykaa stands as the clear leader in its home market of India
What's next?
In food and beverages, the US and the UK are the clear standouts in e-commerce sales
Walmart leads the way in global food and beverages e-commerce
Walmart’s leading position in the US market helped by its strength in curbside pick-up
Amazon performs well in several food and beverage categories: especially hot drinks
Alcoholic drinks bucks overarching trends in food and beverages e-commerce
Tesco has a commanding lead in food and beverages e-commerce in the UK
In cooking ingredients and meals e-commerce, direct-to-consumer meal kit players stand out
HelloFresh sets the pace for the meal kit market
Seasonality is less of a factor in food and beverages than other FMCG industries
What's next?
In the home products space, pet care has led e-commerce adoption
Amazon is the most important player in home products e-commerce
In pet care e-commerce, Amazon takes a back seat to digitally-native pet care specialists
ZooPlus has staked its position as the pet care e-commerce leader in continental Europe
In tissue and hygiene e-commerce, retail generalists reign supreme
Magazine Luiza occupies a unique niche in Brazilian e-commerce
Air care and bleach buck the trend in home care e-commerce
Bath & Body Works embraces loyalty to drive e-commerce sales growth
The impact of seasonality is far more apparent in some home product categories than others
What's next?
Key takeaways
What will it take to win?
About Euromonitor’s Syndicated Channels Research
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Retail is the sale of new and used goods to consumers from a business for personal or household consumption from retail outlets, kiosks, market stalls, vending, direct selling and e-commerce. Retail is the aggregation of Retail Offline and Retail E-Commerce. Excludes specialist retailers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, vehicle parts. Also excludes fuel sales, foodservice sales, rental transactions, and wholesale sales (e.g. Cash and Carry). Sales value excluding or including VAT/Sales Tax. Retail also excludes the informal retail sector. Informal retailing is retail trade which is not declared to the tax authorities. Informal retailing encompasses (a) sales generated by unregistered and unlicensed retailers, i.e. retailers operating illegally, and (b) any proportion of sales generated by a registered and licensed retailer that is not declared to the tax authorities. Unregistered and unlicensed retailers operate predominantly (although not exclusively) as street hawkers or operate open market stalls, as these channels are harder for the authorities to monitor than permanent outlets. Activities in the illegal market, which is usually understood to refer to trade in illegal, counterfeit or stolen merchandise, are included within our definition of informal retailing. Activities in the “grey market”, which is usually understood to refer to trade in legal merchandise that is sold through unauthorized channels – for example cigarettes bought legally in another country, legally imported, but sold at lower prices than in authorized channels – will be included as informal retailing if no tax is paid on sale by the retailer. However if the retailer pays tax – for example on cigarettes bought legally in another country but sold at a lower price than standard – the sale is included within formal retail.

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