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Asos, Boohoo, THG and more launch trade body to support e-commerce sector

By Huw Hughes

24 Feb 2021


British retailers Asos, Boohoo, Gymshark, The Hut Group (THG), Ocado Group and AO World have launched a new trade body to support and promote the country’s fast-growing digital-commerce sector.

The newly-founded UK Digital Business Association (UKDBA) said it “will champion the sector” as it adapts to “ever-changing consumer needs”, while simultaneously supporting the efforts of physical retailers in their transition to a digital-first environment.

E-tailers have performed well in recent years as consumers shifted from physical stores to online shopping, a change that has been further accelerated during the pandemic with brick-and-mortar shops forced to close.

The six UK-based retailers to launch UKDBA saw an increase of 40.8 percent in employee numbers between 2016-19, with around 10,000 further jobs expected to be added this year.

During the pandemic, the members served tens of millions of customers both in the UK and globally, and plan more than 1 billion pounds of investment through the course of 2021.

“Our membership has helped underpin the UK as the most advanced e-commerce market in Europe,” said UKDBA founder Iain McDonald in a release. “The British online industry is one of the UK’s greatest success stories and the UKDBA is here to champion our members, their customers’ interests, providing them a voice in a rapidly evolving world.”

New UK trade body to champion digital commerce

Pre-Covid online retail sales grew 285.3 percent to 17.3 billion pounds in 2019 compared to 4.1 billion pounds in 2009, according to research published today by accounting firm Grant Thornton.

“With the face of e-commerce reshaped, UKDBA members will be crucial in driving the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19 putting customers at the heart of their ambitions, whilst supporting the current government’s efforts to create a technology-driven global-facing economy,” UKBA said.

“The UKDBA will provide a voice for its members, and hope to welcome new members as it develops. It will champion the sector as it continues to adapt to ever-changing consumer needs, at the same time as supporting the efforts of store-based retailers in their transition to a digital-first environment.”

Image: courtesy of Asos