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Brands Are Doubling Down on eCommerce Heading into 2019, Finds Profitero / Kantar Consulting Benchmarking Survey

November 15, 2018
Jannie Cahill
Written By
Jannie Cahill

BOSTON and LONDON, 15 NOVEMBER 2018. New research from Profitero and Kantar Consulting reveals that 76% of brands are looking to accelerate their eCommerce investment in order to capitalize on the $3.5T digital opportunity in 2019 (source: eMarketer). Profitero and Kantar Consulting found that brands have already made huge investments in eCommerce, expanding their global eCommerce staffing and headcount by 83%, on average, versus the prior year.

The 2019 eCommerce Outlook for Brands surveyed 200+ eCommerce professionals to get a pulse on how brands are evolving to tackle the eCommerce opportunity, with 7,000 LinkedIn profiles analyzed globally to establish trends and patterns in eCommerce hiring and headcount growth.

The analysis shows that global eCommerce headcount at brand manufacturers has increased dramatically from a year ago, with a significant roster of companies, including Heineken, Duracell, Revlon and LVMH, expanding their digital headcount by as much as 500% or more in the past 12 months.

"eCommerce teams typically have been largely under-resourced with existing staff having to cover a wide range of brand and category responsibilities. However, our research shows companies are waking up to the fact that this is no longer sustainable and are investing in dedicated specialists and teams to accelerate online growth,” said Andrew Pearl, Director of Strategy & Insights EMEA at Profitero. “We see this increased investment in headcount also coinciding with investment in data analytics so that brands focus on priority actions and products and not waste these new resources."

“From Profitero’s research, and our own work with eCommerce leaders in CPG companies, we see the largest obstacle to unlocking true omnichannel opportunities is that most organizations remain primarily optimized to serve brick & mortar retailers,” said Malcolm Pinkerton, VP eCommerce & Digital Insights at Kantar Consulting. “To win, brands must break down the silos and work in cross-functional teams—with marketing, sales, consumer engagement, eCommerce, stores, data analysis and supply chain—all working in harmony.”

Top five takeaways from the Profitero/Kantar Consulting eCommerce Benchmarking Survey:

  • Brands must act now to build digital capabilities or risk being left behind. 76% of brands surveyed are increasing their investment in eCommerce, with 35% spending more than 10% of their channel revenue on digital tools, solutions and agency support. Brands that fail to keep pace risk losing long-term competitive advantage.
  • The arms race for eCommerce talent will only intensify. Compared to 2017, the number of people with eCommerce job titles grew by 83%, on average. As demand for digital specialists outstrips supply, brands must invest heavily in training and development to bring new eComm skills to the workforce and talent they already have.
  • Outsourcing some eCommerce functions is an effective way to get the job done. Brands are leaning on agencies to fill resource gaps and support critical eComm functions, especially in areas that require heavy specialization and are hard to build in-house. Two-thirds of brands outsource SEO/SEM; half outsource content creation and digital marketing campaigns.
  • 2019 is poised to be the “Year of Data Analytics.” The rise of algorithmic-driven retail means data analytics is no longer a nice to have, but a central commercial function. 73% of brands spend a portion of their eCommerce budget on data analytics services; 41% of brands plan to expand their eCommerce data analytics headcount in the coming year.
  • Retail price wars are weighing heavy on brands. 55% of brands peg pricing and profitability as their #1 eCommerce challenge to tackle, as Amazon on battles it out with other retailers to be lowest price. One way to deal with profitability pressures is through 1P/3P hybrid selling, which 55% of large brands and 74% of small brands are pursuing or considering.

Click here to view the full Executive Summary.

For more detailed insights and analyses, register for the Profitero / Kantar Consulting webinar Unlocking eCommerce Growth in 2019 on December 3 at 9am EST/2pm GMT.

Methodology Summary

For the third consecutive year, Profitero conducted an online survey of brand manufacturers to determine their top organizational priorities, challenges, hiring plans and more as it relates to eCommerce. Fielded from July 2018 to August 2018, responses were collected from a total of 188 respondents in 2018. We also examined the LinkedIn profiles across 150 unique consumer brands globally, identifying all people with an eCommerce-related keyword in their title. Research was conducted between June 2018 and August 2018, and reflects only people who have a LinkedIn profile.

About Profitero

Profitero is the eCommerce Performance analytics platform of choice for leading brands around the world. With Profitero, brands can measure their digital shelf performance across 8,000+ retailer sites and mobile apps in 50 countries, gaining actionable insights to improve product content, search placement, ratings & reviews, availability, assortment and pricing. Profitero also allows brands to measure their Amazon sales & share performance, and is the only solution that can correlate Amazon sales & share performance with changes across the digital shelf. Many of the world’s leading brand manufacturers depend on Profitero’s granular and highly-accurate data to measure and improve their eCommerce performance. These include Beiersdorf, Edgewell, General Mills, Heineken, iRobot, Kids II, L’Oreal and MillerCoors.

About Kantar Consulting

Kantar Consulting is a global specialist growth consultancy. With over 1,000 analysts, thought leaders, software developers and expert consultants, we help our clients develop and execute brand, marketing, retail, sales and shopper strategies to deliver growth. We track 1,200 retailers globally, have purchase data on over 200 million shoppers, and forecast social, cultural and consumer trends across the world.

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