E-commerce: Swiss companies have not yet tapped their full potential

New e-commerce study “The Swiss e-commerce factor in international sales and deliveries” identifies untapped opportunities in EU and non-EU markets for exporting Swiss SMEs. The study is free of charge for S-GE members.

There is a huge potential for Swiss SMEs in the e-commerce sector

The report by NetComm Suisse draws on data collected in a survey conducted in 5 European countries as well as in New York, Korea, Shanghai, Tokyo and Moscow/St. Petersburg. Foreign consumers continue to value Swiss online shops for their high product quality, trustworthiness, payment security, and supplier reliability (for further information see the links at the end of the article). The study identified 237 million individual promoters of Switzerland around the world, as opposed to 36.5 million when limited to Europe.

In this context, Carlo Terreni, General Director at NetComm Suisse Association, believes that Switzerland is missing a unique opportunity because: “More than 35 million customers in the EU feel safe when buying from Swiss-based shops. Unfortunately, however, only 8% of Swiss companies have an online shop and even fewer sell abroad. For this reason, we are working to create a Trustmark that promotes the Swiss factor and helps Swiss enterprises increase their exports with the aid of e-commerce.”

Exporting Swiss SMEs: Understanding cross-border data to fully exploit e-commerce potential

Alberto Silini, Head of Consulting at Switzerland Global Enterprise, presents research data focusing on understanding cross-border data in order to fully tap Switzerland’s e-export potential. Switzerland currently ranks second among international e-commerce markets for high-image assets in the CEFI (Country e-Commerce Factor Index). According to the report, the largest potential market for Swiss exporters is in Shanghai/China. He stresses:

E-commerce is a great opportunity for Swiss exporters to expand their business. But different rules apply depending on the market.

“In China, for example, 80% of sales are generated by just two platforms, Tmall and JD. Therefore, operating your own website to create online sales is less likely to be successful. Also, the WeChat app is becoming increasingly popular for e-commerce nowadays. SMEs need to be sure e-commerce is the right strategy for them, choose their service partner wisely, e.g., with binding sales targets, and develop e-commerce expertise within their company.”

Over two thirds of Swiss online shoppers purchase abroad

Although China and Russia are the primary international markets for Swiss e-exports, around two thirds (64%) of Swiss online shoppers actually make their purchases abroad—with fashion being the top-ranked product purchased abroad. Yet it is not enough to focus expansion exclusively on these markets, as a country’s attractiveness for cross-border e-commerce can fluctuate. Promotion of Swiss values at an international level is therefore key, as these values remain stable even when markets don’t.

E-commerce study: free of charge for S-GE members

The study “The Swiss e-commerce factor in international sales and deliveries” is free of charge for S-GE members. To order the study, please contact
Not yet a member of S-GE? Join now and benefit from discounts on fact finding missions and mandates, free events and market studies. Membership will also allow you to network with the member community, which consists of more than 2,200 exporting Swiss SMEs.

Impulse Event: Business opportunities in e-commerce and security

E-commerce is increasingly important for small and large businesses alike. While many enterprises find that e-commerce can be a profitable way of reaching customers or sourcing supplies, many enterprises also face substantial challenges and issues when doing e-commerce. The aim of this event is to present opportunities for SMEs from Switzerland and Lichtenstein, examples of successful businesses internationalising and also some learnings for the audience regarding e-commerce and security in a B2B and B2C environment. Secure your spot at the «Impulse Event: Business opportunities in e-commerce and securit on 6 September 2017 in Zurich.


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