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Consumers International calls for action to support consumer trust at Barcelona e-Commerce Summit

19 Jun 2017

Barcelona hosted both the Global and European e-commerce Summits this month between 12 - 14 June. The events gave Consumers International the chance to share their views on consumer trust in the digital economy and hear from business and legislators about the opportunities and challenges facing the future growth of e-Commerce.

With global e-retail sales forecast to double between 2016 and 2020, the need for e-commerce that champions consumer interests is a pressing issue.

Consumers International’s Advocacy Director Justin Macmullan spoke at both events. At the European Summit he was joined by Veronica Manfredi, Head of the Consumer and Marketing Law Unit at the European Commission and by representatives from e-commerce Europe for a panel on ‘Changing Consumer Legislation in Europe.’

Building consumer trust into the future of e-commerce

As outlined during UNCTAD’s e-commerce Week earlier this year, there is a growing consensus that consumer protection and trust will be essential for ensuring the continued growth of the digital economy. Both events were an opportunity to discuss the need for robust and agile legislation that can keep up with the considerable growth of the European and global e-Commerce industries as well as other tools and initiatives that strengthen consumer protection and empowerment.

In a recent survey conducted by CIGI online, 49% of the respondents who had never shopped online stated that ‘lack of trust’ was the key reason for avoiding e-commerce.

Justin Macmullan reminded delegates that maintaining consumer trust and satisfaction is in everyone’s interest: “E-commerce is most successful when it responds to consumer needs and delivers very real benefits for consumers. It is important for stakeholders within the industry to listen to consumers as their trust will be pivotal for a thriving and prosperous digital economy”.

For more information on Consumers International’s recommendations for building consumer protection in to digital regulatory frameworks download our ten proposed digital recommendations to G20 member states.

Cross border e-Commerce

Another area discussed was cross border e-commerce in Europe. While national e-commerce markets are going from strength to strength, cross border e-commerce sales are still some way behind.

Potential explanations offered by panellists included a lack of consumer confidence when making transactions outside of their home country, and a lack of collaboration between member states when creating consumer legislation in Europe.

On the issue Veronica Manfredi noted that surveys suggest that consumer confidence is improving however ‘consumers expect to have the same rights across Europe, online and offline’. Léon Molenberg, Senior Policy Adviser at E-Commerce Europe also added that ‘harmonising rules’ will be critical for the future growth of the industry in Europe.

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