Digital acceleration could add 4% to retail’s growth rate, research shows

Research released today by Adyen, the global payments platform of choice for many of the world’s leading companies, reveals British retailers hold out optimism for growth in 2022, potentially contributing £269 billion to retail turnover.

Adyen commissioned Opinium LLP to poll 2,000 consumers and Censuswide to poll 500 businesses in the UK, and economic modelling by the Centre for Economic Business Research (Cebr). It also shows how accelerating digital transformation would help turbocharge retailers’ growth and customer loyalty.

Almost three quarters of businesses (74%) suggest they could grow by 20% or more this year, with the average  growth rate 58%. Should businesses achieve these growth ambitions it would contribute £269 billion to the retail turnover.

This optimism shown by businesses following two years of the pandemic is testament to their resilience and agility. Adyen’s research shows that technology will play a significant role in helping retailers reach and exceed their growth expectations.

When businesses use technology to connect their operations, including payments and customer experience, the proportion expecting to grow by 20% increases to 78%. Additionally, Cebr’s economic modelling found that accelerating digital transformation would add an additional 4 percentage points to the UK retail sector’s growth rate over the next five years.

The technology opportunity to improve operations and the customer experience is significant for retailers and something UK consumers have come to expect. 41% say they are more likely to shop with retailers that use technology to improve the customer experience. 56% of shoppers would be more loyal to retailers that let them buy things online and return them in store.

However, the data shows that businesses are not fully ready to capitalise on this opportunity. Only 24% of retailers say their customers can easily return items purchased online at their physical stores, and only 21% say their payments systems are connected to other parts of their operations.

“Businesses are grappling with rising energy costs and the cost of living is directly impacting shopper appetite. Following the pandemic, digital investment could once again help the sector to navigate exceptionally challenging times. Exploring technologies to help increase efficiencies and meet customer needs, whether that be developing online ordering portals or making preferred payment options easier could help to manage costs and realise growth aspirations,” said Colin Neil, managing director of UK & Ireland at Adyen.

“Technology needs to permeate across the entire business to break down silos, improve efficiencies and deliver better customer experiences. Those businesses that are joined-up can use data from across their operations to build a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs and inform business decisions. This, is the key to competitive advantage in modern retail.”