Digitalisation and the Future of Retail

Europe’s largest retailers call for more digitally skilled workers and less supply restrictions

The digital transformation of the retail sector empowers consumers. Speaking at the European Retail Round Table (ERRT) event on Digitalisation and the Future of Retail on the 15 November in Brussels, ERRT President Frans Muller, affirmed that “Our aim at ERRT is clear. We want to ensure that consumers can fully avail themselves of the benefits of the European digital single market. That means more convenient shopping, a wider choice, bespoke offerings and better prices.”

The European digital single market has the potential to be beneficial for the European economy, by creating many new jobs. However, all over Europe large retailers are increasingly confronted with a lack of digitally skilled workers. Large retailers are eagerly looking for people who can create websites, apps and master basic coding. They have vacancies for those who are able to perform computer programming, advanced coding, data-mining and online marketing experts. And they are in need of digitally skilled staff at the shop floor level.
The shortage of people with these skills in Europe is worrying. The latest figures suggest a shortfall of roughly 750,000 professionals in the ICT sector by 2020. An important reason why large retailers have to compete so hard for digitally skilled people, is that they are more and more required across all sectors of the economy and in a range of emerging occupations, such as cyber security specialist and big data managers. ERRT President Muller: ‘‘The EU could play a valuable role by creating awareness at the member state level that many attractive new digital jobs are up for grabs at the ERRT member companies. It is therefore worthwhile to foster the acquisition of digital skills across education and training pathways.’’
Concluding the event, Susanne Czech, Director-General of ERRT stated, “We will continue working on supporting the European Commission to create a truly functioning digital single market and bringing unjustified geo-blocking to a halt. However, if we are serious about this, policy makers need to remove contractual restrictions and territorial supply constraints imposed upon retailers. This would allow retailers to provide more of the benefits of cross-border and online shopping to European consumers.”

Notes for Editors:

The European Retail Round Table (ERRT) brings together the CEOs of Europe’s 14 leading international retailers, active in a variety of markets, including food, furniture, fashion, and electronics, amongst others. Each retailer has both physical stores as well as multichannel operations in Europe. Together, ERRT companies employ around 2 million European citizens, operate nearly 35,000 stores in Europe.

ERRT members: Ahold Delhaize, Asda, C&A, Dansk Supermarked, El Corte Inglés, ICA AB, IKEA, Inditex, Jerónimo Martins, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Mercadona, Metro Group and Tesco.

Susanne Czech
Director General
European Retail Round Table
35 square de Meeus, 2nd floor, B-1000 Brussels
E-mail: / Phone: +32 2 808 4878