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UK online sales set to top £54bn a year by 2017: study

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UK online retail sales will grow by 10% a year to reach a total €64bn (£54.7bn) in 2017, from €49bn (£41.8bn) in 2012, a new report suggests.

Over the same period, says Forrester’s European Online Retail Forecast 2012-2017, European online sales will reach €191bn (£163.2bn) by 2017, up from €112bn (£96.2bn) in 2012, a compound annual growth rate of 11%. US ecommerce sales, by contrast, will reach $370bn (£244.7bn) from $231bn (£152.8bn) in 2012, a compound annual growth rate of 9%.

Southern European countries will see the fastest growth rates, as online shopping becomes mainstream in Spain and Italy, while in the north of the continent it will become the norm, and across multiple touchpoints. Individual markets will grow at different rates, varying according to the range of retailers that trade over the internet and the trust that shoppers have in them and in the technology.

In the UK, the ecommerce market will be driven by mobile as it enjoys strong growth. However that rate of growth will begin to slow in coming years, putting the onus on local retailers to optimise and innovate in order to stay competitive.

“While online sales in Europe will fall short of the European Commission’s ambition to create a single digital market, online growth will still outstrip offline growth,” said Martin Gill, Forrester principal analyst. “As wallet share shifts gradually to the web, ecommerce will naturally come to be regarded as more and more critical to national economies,” said Martin Gill, Forrester principal analyst.

The report also suggests that categories such as entertainment and groceries will thrive online. More than half of all music and DVD spending will be digital by 2017, suggests the report, while shoppers across Europe will spend almost €10bn online on food and drink.

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