GLOBAL: Online FMCG sales grew 28% in 2014, according to a new report which identifies a need for retailers and brands to prioritise their ecommerce strategies accordingly if they are to capitalise on the evident opportunities.

The study by researcher Kantar Worldpanel – Accelerating the growth of e-commerce – is based on in-depth analysis of the purchasing habits of 100,000 shoppers in ten of the biggest online FMCG markets and forecasts that global FMCG online sales will hit $130bn by the end of 2025.

"There is enormous headroom for growth," the report said, as it predicted that, over the next decade, online FMCG shopping would grow to account for 30% of all FMCG purchases in South Korea, by far the highest level anywhere. In China, the figure will be 15%, while in the UK and France Kantar Worldpanel predicted a 10% share.

Already, around six in ten South Korean households buy FMCG products online at least once a year, while the equivalent figure for the UK, France and Spain is about one in four.

"For brands, the urgency lies in getting on the shopping list," stressed Stéphane Roger, global shopper & retail director at Kantar Worldpanel.

"Our data shows that 55% of online shoppers use the same shopping list from one purchase to the next, giving first movers a big advantage."

The benefits of moving early are equally applicable to retailers. "Tesco in the UK and France's E.Leclerc both enjoy an online market share double that of their offline counterparts," he noted.

"Simply put: the market is remarkably unkind to latecomers."

Roger added that in the 12 months since the previous edition of the report many major brands, including Unilever and Procter & Gamble, had undergone some restructuring with future ecommerce in mind.

"It seems that for these global leaders, the talk is fast turning into action," he said.

The typical online shopper is one that many FMCG brands and retailers will prize: middle to upper class with young children and, in the case of the UK at least, spending four times as much per online trip as they do in store.

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel; additional content by Warc staff