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Online sales to double in Europe by 2016

Annual growth will be of 12%

  • Key4Communications

Online sales in Europe could almost double between 2011 and 2016, rising from €96.7 billion in 2011 to €171.9 billion. This figure would represent a 12% annual growth, according to Forrester.

The biggest market for e-commerce in Europe, the UK, would grow by 11% each year from about €34 billion in 2011 to €59 billion. Currently, online sales account for almost 11% of total retail sales. In 2016 the share would go to 14%.

In Germany, the second largest market, growth would be 12% annually to reach a market share above 10%. The current rate is around 8%.

Increases could be even higher in countries where online trading is not as implanted. In Spain it could reach a rate of 19% per year, and in Italy, 18%. The online market share of total retail trade in these countries is around 3%.

In the case of the US, share could reach 9% in 2016 to €250 billion euros, compared to €153 billion in 2011. But this country may also lose its status as world's largest market. According to Boston Consulting Group, online commerce in China could overtake the US in 2015, if the expected 33% annual growth in online shopping is confirmed, thanks to the improved economic conditions for the citizens of this country.

More online shoppers

The number of consumers who choose to buy through the Internet should also grow. Currently four out of ten Spanish citizens have purchased at least once through the Internet in 2011, a figure that would reach six in ten in 2016. In the UK, the increase would be from 75% to 85%;  in Germany, from 69% to 81%; in France, from 63% to 76%; in Italy, from 36% to 47%, and in Sweden, 72 % to 86%.

The reasons cited by consumers for shopping online are saving time (69%), finding deals (68%), the search for products not found in brick-and-mortar stores (42%) and keep in touch with new fashions and trends (26%).

A multichannel consumer

Consumers are increasingly interchanging the use of online and traditional shopping channels, with 43% of consumers searching and comparing prices online before shopping in any channel, and almost 25% using the information obtained in traditional outlets to assist online shopping decisions. Forrester also expects and increase in the use of smartphones to consult and compare products online while in the brick-and-mortar store.

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