Artisan food retailers are missing out on double-digit sales growth

A new report into the UK’s artisan food and drink industry reveals that more than half (53%) of independent retailers and caterers don’t currently sell online, and 35% of those claim they have no intention of making a shift to digital trade.

The 2018 Speciality Market Report, which was commissioned by and launched at Speciality & Fine Food Fair in September, shows that retailers could be missing out on double-digit sales growth from the burgeoning UK e-commerce market.

Three-quarters of those who have embraced an online platform say it has boosted sales and attracted new customers, with 15% of those claiming sales have increased by more than 40% in the past 18 months, and more than half reporting sales rises of up to 9%.

The report also takes a closer look at how businesses are diversifying to grow sales and customers – 68% of those surveyed have diversified, with 36% saying sales had increased “significantly”. Typical examples of businesses expanding beyond their core were installation of free Wi-Fi, offering hot beverages or café facilities and regularly hosting events.

When it comes to the thornier issue of Brexit the report found that 56% of independents believe exiting the EU will drive up wholesale prices and 47% are prepared to pass at least some of that rise on to their shoppers, while 32% said they would pass on the entire rise.

Despite what could be turbulent times ahead, 50% are making no immediate changes to their business and waiting to see how the UK’s planned departure from the EU pans out, while 30% are already sourcing more products from the UK.

More about Speciality & Fine Food Fair here.

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