The investor perspective: Nordic e-retail - growth rocket or bubble warning?

Stockholm — Will a global economic recession cause mass-death amongst e-retailers? It would appear that the answer correlates with revenue size, according to a panel at BreakIt’s Retail Tech 2018. Henrik Aspén, Verdane Partner and co-head of consumer internet investments, was invited to join a group of investors on-stage to discuss the state of e-retail in the region.

Tougher times lie ahead for smaller players, according to the panel. Alongside a growing e-retailer share of the market resulting from offline to online migration comes an increasing sophistication in the battle for consumer money, meaning businesses need to make investments to scale their operations. And because of the heft of those investments, you need to have a sizeable enough business – depending on your vertical, somewhere in the region of 50 MSEK (roughly 5 MEUR) in revenue and above, if you ask Verdane’s Henrik Aspén.

The implication of which is that scale wins the day as we head into a potential recession – larger players that already have the resources to invest will come out with more sophisticated value propositions than smaller players. Added to this, larger players are to a greater extent able to achieve operational and logistical efficiencies that grant them an edge in the event of a price war brought on by a recession. A united panel agreed that although valuations differ markedly between e-retailer verticals, valuations of e-retailers as a whole are not headed for a bubble.