Online retailing is continuing to boom in the UK despite pessimism about the economy, according to retail analysts Verdict Research. The amount of money spent by consumers shopping online increased by 35% to £14.7bn last year, the fastest growth in six years – approximately 10 times that of the UK’s retail market as whole, reports the BBC.
Among 4,000 shoppers quizzed, making better use of leisure time was the main reason given for online shopping. The growth in internet access and users making more regular and expensive purchases online meant the growth would continue, Verdict’s report suggested.
It forecast that online retail sales would reach £44.9bn by 2012, about 13.8% of total spending. “There is still a need and place for physical locations – the key is to ensure that synergies with online retailing are exploited to drive footfall to stores,” Verdict said.
“While having an Internet presence is vital, giving the consumer choice by establishing strong links between the in-store and online offer is now essential.”
The development of faster broadband had made the process of shopping quicker and easier for many people, Verdict concluded, while many saw it as a way of getting cheaper prices.
“The internet is widely perceived as a cheaper and easier way of finding lower prices and bargains in most sectors,” said Malcolm Pinkerton, Verdict’s senior retail analyst.
“As the cost of broadband falls, consumers become accustomed to internet shopping and retailers continue to enhance their online propositions, the channel will find itself extremely well-placed to capitalise on the falling consumer confidence and lower levels of disposable income currently impacting the retail market.”
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