What makes Switzerland a good market for e-commerce?
Switzerland has long been regarded as an exceptionally successful, prosperous and peaceful nation. Combined with a highly skilled workforce and low unemployment rate, the Swiss have USD 86,835 GDP per capita – the second highest in the world. The average online consumer spends around USD 1,184.03 annually.
- Fashion (USD 3.9 billion)
- Electronics and media (USD 2.62 billion)
High e-commerce penetration
Of it’s 8.37 million inhabitants, 5.5 million are e-commerce users that are expected to spend in the region of USD 10.88 billion online by 2021.
As a UK business, you may be thrilled to find out that there are already well-established trade links: Switzerland is the UK’s tenth largest export market – total bilateral trade being worth GBP 32.9 billion annually. The Swiss also show a keen interest in overseas sellers, around 64% of online shoppers purchase from cross-border vendors.
Technology is integral to the lives of Swiss consumers who are comfortable with online purchases (65.2% preferring to pay on credit card). Smartphone penetration is at 72.8% while most purchases (86%) are made from a desktop. This means businesses will have to optimise websites for both devices in order to engage their audience effectively.
Switzerland’s modern economy and sound political system are underpinned by a remarkably sophisticated infrastructure which enables the country to remain mostly stable, lucrative and productive. Dense road and rail networks allow for quick and easy transport of goods. In 2018, the country ranked 13th in the World Logistic Ranking.
Due to its geographical location and Schengen membership, Switzerland is also very well positioned for businesses looking to expand their markets further into Europe.
How can you enter the Swiss market?
If you decide to set up your virtual shop in Switzerland, you will, of course, have to do some research into your target audience. While there are many benefits and opportunities for selling in that country, there is also the linguistic factor to consider (four official languages) and the domestic rules and regulations you will have to adhere to. There are also special customs clearance and import tax requirements which may apply to your industry.
Switzerland also enforces weight based duties on imports; you will have to look into what is relevant to your particular product.
What sells in Switzerland?
The key to capturing the interest and loyalty of Swiss consumers is making sure that you are selling a product of good quality and corresponding pricing.
According to gov.uk, there is considerable demand for healthcare products and technologies, companies trading in the field could identify profitable opportunities with the right product and strategy.
Food and drink retailers may also find very lucrative niches, particularly sellers of premium goods, as Switzerland is the fourth largest per capita food importer in the world.
Where to start?
Any product you sell in Switzerland will have to meet safety standards, provide clear instructions and warnings and comply with the mandatory standards.
After you have conducted your market research and ensured that your products are fully optimised for the Swiss consumer, you will need to decide whether to set up a local office and how you will handle returns and customer care.
Swiss customers are often deterred by hidden costs, so it’s advisable to consider making the returns process as simple and straightforward as possible.
As Asendia is jointly owned by Swiss Post, it offers your customers a recognisable and trusted brand that can serve all of your mailing needs. When mapping out your logistics plan for Switzerland, it’s worth getting in touch with Asendia to get the best pricing and support service options for your business. If you’re looking for customers with significant buying power, a tech-savvy approach to purchasing and a desire for new, high-value products and services, Switzerland may offer your business the perfect market.