Online retail set to triple over next five years

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Another day, another piece of research focusing on the growth of online shopping.Retail analysts Verdict Research say spending by online consumers rose by a third in 2006, and is set to triple over the next five years.

The survey by Verdict Research found that web-based shopping grew by more than a third (33.4 per cent) in 2006 to £13.9 billion, meaning an even larger audience for internet marketers.

By 2011 this figure is likely to grow to £28.1 billion, accounting for 8.9 per cent of all retail spending in the UK.

Those companies that integrate their physical and online channels seamlessly will have the most success in the future, according to Verdict Research's Nick Gladding.

"Viewing channels in isolation is more a recipe for failure, than for success and a seamless fusion needs to be achieved between both physical and online channels," he said.

"While creating a multichannel operation is by no means an easy task, the rewards for those that successfully attain this feat will outweigh the investment."

The crossover between online and physical high-street stores was illustrated by the recent Kate Moss collection launch at Topshop.  

However, it said the bulk of the growth would probably be generated by existing online consumers, rather than by more people starting to shop on the web.

"Even with some retailers staying out of the market, online sales in the UK are set to triple in value," the report said.

"By 2011, the typical spend of an online shopper will grow to £1,056 per year with the clothing and footwear, DIY and gardening, and food and grocery sectors achieving the fastest growth.”

Verdict’s research focused purely on goods, hence its figures being lower than other online retail estimates for the UK.

The IMRG, for example, says just over £30bn was spent online by UK shoppers last year, and reckons the UK etailing market will reach £78bn by 2010.

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