Online shopping to grow £320 billion in three years

E-commerce sales in the four largest markets in the world: the US, Germany, the UK and China, will grow by £320 billion between now and 2018, according to research.

The growth will increase the size of the online market to £645 billion according to research by OC&C Strategy Consultants, PayPal and Google.

According to the report, British consumers spend £1 in every £5 of their shopping on internet shopping.

The driving force behind this growth is the rise of the smartphone. It is boosting mobile shopping, which leads to retailers investing more in digital solutions.

“The number of people with internet access is growing fast, with many new consumers skipping the desktop phase entirely and only experiencing the web through a smartphone,” said Martijn Bertisen, sales director at Google UK.

The UK is leading the pack on mobile purchases. Over half (59 per cent) of online sales in the UK are now made through smartphones or tablets, 14 per cent more than the US (45 per cent) and 35 per cent more than Germany (24 per cent).

The rise of online shopping is also having a positive impact on overseas sales. People in China now make nearly the same amount of purchases from British retailers as domestic consumers do.

It seems that the rise in online shopping is satiating the most important desire for the consumer: choice. When asked why they bought British products, 40 per cent of international shoppers said that it was because they offered products local retailers did not. Just under a third (29 per cent) it was because they trusted the quality of British products.

“The study has shown that UK retailers are some of the world’s most popular and are in a strong position to seize more opportunities abroad,” said Anita Balchandani, head of retail at OC&C.

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