Unilever: e-commerce turnover grows to 2.5 billion

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FMCG giant Unilever saw its turnover from e-commerce grow by 47 % to 2.5 billion euro. E-commerce now represents almost 5 % of the group's total turnover.


E-commerce becomes a priority in top markets

In 2018, Unilever's e-commerce grew to 2.49 billion euros, which translates to 4.9 % of the total turnover of 50 billion euros. The year before, e-commerce accounted for 3.3 % of the total turnover of 53.71 billion euros. All kinds of online sales are included in this amount: sales directly to the consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) and B2B2C.


The producer of brands like Dove, Becel and Lipton will continue to invest in e-commerce, CEO Alan Jope said in the recently published annual report. Unilever's online growth outperforms the global e-commerce market and the company is well underway towards constructing a major e-commerce business. To that end, Unilever collaborates with marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba subsidiary Taobao in China. In China, e-commerce even represents more than 20 % of the total turnover. For Unilever's 30 top markets, e-commerce remains a priority, says Jope.


"Fragmentation of traditional routes"

The CEO is hoping to construct a balanced e-commerce model, which grows through online retailers, online sales in physical stores and direct-to-consumer models. Through these means, he hopes to respond to the "rapid fragmentation of traditional routes to market", as reported in Digital Commerce 360.


In order to support this digitisation, the multinational is also hiring new people with experience in this sector. An example is the recent appointment of Sunny Jain (former manager of FMCG at Amazon) as head of the beauty and personal care business unit. Last year, Coca-Cola veteran Marta Dalton was appointed director of global e-commerce.