EUROPE: French store chain Fnac and German consumer electronics outlet Media Markt emerge as Europe's leading omnichannel retailers in a new report that assesses the digital competence of the continent's top retail names.

The first annual Digital IQ Index: Retail Europe benchmarked 58 European retailers in three categories (Non-Grocery, Grocery, and Hypermarket) across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

This noted that toughening market conditions in Europe have prompted a "digital arms race" among British and French retailers seeking to differentiate themselves.

"Retailers from Tesco to Carrefour to Argos are ramping up omnichannel efforts to retain market share, following in the footsteps of electronics retailers who have invested ahead of the curve," it said.

German retailers have reacted more slowly, however, "creating a void Amazon is rushing to fill".

Fnac scored 147 in the analysis, putting it in L2's Genius category. It is the largest mobile ad publisher in the Index, while its Kobo e-book reader is one of the top five performing apps and competes with the Kindle app in France.

Media Markt scored 142 and, the study reported, is the only German electronics retailer going head-to-head with Amazon on search. It is also the most prolific web advertiser in Germany on both desktop and mobile, with a focus on dynamic and video content.

Spanish department store El Corte Inglés scored 139 for a Gifted ranking. L2 noted that it had "the best Instagram strategy in the country" as well as good search visibility, adding that it also invested consistently in omnichannel and fulfillment, a strategy missing from other Spanish retailers.

UK catalogue and shop retailer Argos (138) ranked equal fourth and was commended for offering identical experiences across desktop, mobile and app, so making e-commerce seamless and user-friendly. It also maintained high search visibility for key product categories, putting it in direct competition with Amazon.

German discounter Lidl (138) is better known as a bricks-and-mortar retailer, and it ranked Challenged or Feeble in most markets it operates in, but not in France, said L2. "The brand's e-commerce experience there is leagues better than in other countries, across various categories – mimicking top French hypermarkets."

Data sourced from L2; additional content by Warc staff