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DES GB2013 E

line manager will issue a “final warning”. Littler’s summary: He feels like a robot, not a person. Mi- chael Marmot, an expert on stress at work consulted by the BBC, stat- ed that this way of working in- creases the risk of mental and physical illness. The U.S. group issued an official statement in which it vehemently denied allegations of exploitation and labour law violations. Yet, even if the documentary was exag- gerated and circumstances were exceptional due to the Christmas season, one thing is clear: the many thousands of online orders are creating packing machines working against the clock. Grant- ed, €400 jobs at a bakery or as a discount store cashier before the holidays are neither stress-free nor well-paid. But the pressure they experience is still far re- moved from that of a packer. N The more quickly and cheaply consumers want their merchandise, the more stressful and time-oriented the working conditions be- come for people working in logistics. Growth or downward spiral? E-commerce is growing, that much is certain. Yet, the extent of this growth is unknown. The German Retail Federation (HDE), for instance, puts sales at €33.1 billion and expects a 17% increase in the year ahead to €38.7 billion. Ac- cording to a representative of the German E- Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Asso- ciation (BVH), e-commerce already hit this mark last year when it generated €39.1 billion in sales. Anticipating a whopping 25% growth in 2014, to €48.8 billion, he looks ahead to the current year with confidence. “Official statis- tics don’t capture the phenomenon correctly, the studies are rather vague in places,” admits Dr Kai Hudetz, Managing Director of the E- Commerce Center (ECC) at the Center for Re- search in Retailing (IFH) in Cologne. His cent- er has been studying the rise of e-commerce for 15 years. Deviations could stem from dif- ferences between gross and net amounts, ad- justments for returns, different definitions of distance selling and even the quality of the data provided: “A lot of market data is based on sta- tistical projections because only very few online merchants are re- quired to disclose their figures. The majority of this information is provided on a voluntary basis and only a few multi-channel retailers break their earnings down by sales channel,” he explains. Certainly, online sales account for over 8% of total retail sales, over 15% not in- cluding groceries, and this share is growing steadily across all seg- ments. N Market figures indicate trends, yet are no substitute for a differenti- ated focus on products, segments and business models. The uptrade that is a downtrade in actuality But who is winning the market share game? “The clear winners in terms of sales are the market-leading pure players, clever niche concepts and manufacturers’ brands. E-commerce works extremely well for vertical retailers like H&M or Zara, but sellers of third-party brands with inter- changeable products are struggling against price-sensitive online com- petitors,” says Hamburg-based e-commerce consultant Alexander Graf as he explores the reasons behind the success of various business models. According to the ECC in Cologne, pure players have the biggest slice of the online pie with 35.4% of the market – followed closely by the online sales channels of bricks and mortar retailers (29.3%). Cause for concern, however, is the growing concentration of power with three major pure players. The six-letter market leader alone generated sales of €7.8 bil- lion last year, which represents nearly a quarter of all e-commerce rev- enue in Germany. Business might be booming, yet profits are a rarity. The race for power and market share takes its toll. So far, no market analyst has disproved the notion that the price and service strategies of the megaplayers are not subsi- dised business models. Not to mention the tax loopholes, paltry wages, unfair working conditions and unfair terms and conditions for merchants that cause an up- roar time and time again. In order to persuade more and more buyers to get on board, the online giants invest enormous amounts of money in perfecting their customer journey, delivery services and returns manage- ment. eBay and Amazon alone spent a total of $4.75 billion on R&D in 2012. Being first movers, they might bear high development risks, however they also push the restoftheindustrytoadoptanever- ending stream of new standards. 500g Greenhouse gas emissions caused by the delivery of one package 400t Total CO2 emissions released by 800,000 returns every day 255 Number of car trips from FrankfurttoBeijing which would generate an equivalent amount of CO2 emissions FACTS & FIGURES DEUTSCHEEUROSHOPANNUALREPORT2013/SHOPPING 025

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