The 2017 Global Omnichannel Retail Index: Omnichannel on the march

Executive summary

Globally, omnichannel retail is on the march. Over the last two years, in most countries and categories, retailers have become more mature in enabling consumers to research, compare, purchase, and return products across channels. Yet there is still a wide range of performance. To give retailers a snapshot, we analyzed the omnichannel maturity of 28 countries and nine consumer retail categories and created an index, which uses industry data to rank countries on a scale of 1 to 100 across four dimensions: the degree of digitization for retail sales in a country or category; omnichannel potential; consumer behavior; and technology infrastructure.

This is an update to a similar study we conducted in 2015.

Key findings include the following:

  • Overall digitization in the countries in our sample increased 27 percent since the 2015 analysis.
  • English-speaking countries again dominate among top-performing countries. The U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Canada all ranked in the top five.
  • Despite this notable progress in digitization worldwide, some countries, such as Germany, remained flat.
  • Media products, consumer electronics and appliances, and traditional toys and games are the most mature omnichannel categories.
  • China, which ranked fourth, remains the largest e-commerce market in the world, with high mobile adoption rates and extremely demanding consumers.
  • The degree of digitization for retail sales channels has the biggest impact on a country’s overall maturity level. This is partly within companies’ control: By shifting sales to digital channels, they can foster greater demand among customers.

In addition, this report offers case studies of individual countries and categories. Above all, our aim is to give retail executives a detailed picture of the state of omnichannel execution and a quantifiable means of ranking progress across markets so they can adjust their approaches to individual markets accordingly.

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Conclusion

Across markets and categories, omnichannel retail is no longer a future aspiration but a baseline requirement. Tech-savvy customers demand it, and companies can either meet this expectation or watch those customers depart for more digitally savvy competitors.

Methodology

The Global Omnichannel Retail Index ranks countries on a scale of 1 to 100 using independent metrics and data sources across four categories:

  • Consumer behavior: The degree to which customers in specific countries fulfill their retail purchases via an omnichannel approach
  • Degree of digitization: The degree of digitization for sales channels within a market
  • Omnichannel potential: The average compound annual growth rate of Internet penetration and mobile retailing
  • Technology infrastructure: The penetration of omnichannel devices such as smartphones and tablets, and services such as broadband

The 2017 analysis added 10 countries — Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and Thailand — and dropped India due to insufficient data.