eMarketer's Predictions for Western Europe in 2018

New EU rules will restrict data gathering and handling

Anyone involved with digital marketing faces big challenges in 2018, as several major developments loom. New EU rules will restrict data gathering and handling, while ecommerce harmonization will impose new standards for retail and delivery across the region.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018. The advent of these rules empowering digital consumers in the EU to understand and manage the ways their personal data is handled will cause shockwaves to digital advertising and marketing, at least in the short term.

As the UK continues to plan its departure from the EU, other member nations are pursuing ever-greater harmonization of the standards and processes governing digital commerce, delivery and returns, including transactions involving more than one country.

Services such as Uber and food delivery service Deliveroo epitomize the burgeoning on-demand economy, in which technology connects suppliers of goods and services with their customers in real time, in ways that were not possible before. But consumer expectations for super-quick fulfillment of their requests will create significant headaches for many businesses.

Meanwhile, 2018 will be a crucial year for voice-activated services, bringing major changes to the classic purchase funnel for consumers and brands that use them. Millions of smartphone users in Western Europe already ask inbuilt voice assistants to give them updates on travel and weather or play favorite music tracks. The growing usage of in-home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa is harnessing voice technology for a much wider range of functions—and ushering in the era of voice (and even video) advertising in response to queries.

These insights are drawn from eMarketer's latest report, "Western Europe Digital Trends for 2018: GDPR, Harmonization, the On-Demand Economy and Voice." The report explores four major trends that will change the way consumers, advertisers, marketers and retailers in Western Europe do business and communicate in 2018. eMarketer PRO subscribers can access the full report here. Nonsubscribers can learn more here.