Ahead of the Informal Energy Minsters’ meeting today, EuroCommerce Director General Christel Delberghe alerted European decision-makers to the impact of the energy crisis on the retail and wholesale sector, but also signalled its ability to help in finding solutions:
”Retail and wholesale - and its customers - are being hit hard by skyrocketing energy prices. We welcome the underlying principles of the Commission package of measures being discussed today to deal with gas supplies during the winter. But we ask that retailers and wholesalers, who need uninterrupted energy to provide an essential service to their customers, are treated as a priority sector in any power reduction measures, and that they are supported in switching to alternative sources and increasing the energy efficiency of their buildings.”
Commenting on the European Commission’s third annual Rule of Law report issued today, Christel Delberghe, Director General Christel Delberghe said:
“Retail and wholesale companies need a predictable and non-discriminatory environment to be able to provide an essential service to Europe’s businesses and consumers. We welcome the Commission’s work in highlighting where this is not working, where companies are not all treated equally by public authorities and where it is difficult or nearly impossible to get redress. We would therefore ask the Commission in future reports to include a comprehensive separate section looking at the impact of such actions on business”.
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Commenting on the conclusion of the EU - New Zealand trade agreement, EuroCommerce Director General Christel Delberghe said:
“Retailers, wholesalers and traders welcome the conclusion of an agreement providing new trading opportunities between the EU and New Zealand. It shows that EU trade policy still can deliver. This is a much- needed positive step in the open trade agenda which has been under protectionist pressure globally over the last few years. With the disruption caused by the COVID pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the vulnerability these have shown in Europe’s supply chains, this is a further welcome step in easing the diversification of our sourcing of essential supplies.”
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Ecommerce Europe and EuroCommerce today jointly published the 2022 European E-commerce Report. In 2021, European e-commerce grew by 13 % to €718 billion euros. The growth rate has remained stable, though it has risen slightly compared to 2020. The 2021 B2C turnover figures show that e-commerce continues to grow, despite lockdowns being lifted and consumers’ ability to visit physical stores again.
After the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has become even more firmly anchored in the economy and society. Overall, two trends can be identified. On the one hand, the normalisation and stabilisation of the sales compared to the exceptional previous year: E-commerce continued to grow in 2021 and is also forecast to do so in 2022, with growth slowly stabilising. On the other hand, the report identifies that consumers are being more careful in their spending. The effects of the war in Ukraine, inflation, disrupted global supply chains and a general feeling of uncertainty, are bringing the growth figures back to pre-pandemic levels. Nonetheless, the fact that e-commerce sales are only experiencing a small decline so far shows that the digital commerce sector has become indispensable and very resilient. Additionally, the online services industry, such as e-tourism, events and ticketing, experienced a steady recovery during this past year.
EuroCommerce Narrative on Retail and Wholesale in a changing world…
The world is changing rapidly. Retailers and wholesalers have repeatedly shown how resilient and adaptive they are, and are moving ahead with embracing this change, providing value to customers, suppliers, and society at large. This great story is worth telling – both to the sector and to the wider world. And the story needs to say clearly what we want from the EU and from national governments to make our sector sustainably competitive.