UK tops EU e-commerce league table

link: In profile: E-commerce minister Stephen Timms

Market analyst Forrester’s survey of online spending for the Christmas period found the UK and Germany account for nearly two thirds of all European online sales.

The UK leads the way with 36% of all online sales, with Germany coming in second at 27% – even though the UK does not have the highest penetration of people with internet access in Europe. Even more impressive is the UK boasts more e-tailers than any other EU member state.

Spending online this Christmas is set to double on last years’s £1.1bn, Forrester said.

According to Hellen Omwando, senior analyst at Forrester, part of this is thanks to the UK government’s push to make Britain a leading digital economy.

‘The cost of internet connections in the UK, while not the cheapest in the EU has come down by 61% between 2000 and 2001, which has helped more people in the UK get online. In addition the cost of PCs had dropped in the UK,’ she told VNU News Centre.

But despite these healthy figures she warned that online retailers could not afford to rest on their laurels.

Omwando said UK e-tailers needed to improve their fulfilment model and focus on different payment and delivery options.

Doing so will help relieve the problem of remote credit card fraud, which the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACs) said is spiralling out of control, having risen by 33% over the last year.

This is seriously denting consumer confidence in buying online, and it is up to retailers to put forward new safety measures.

‘Retailers can’t kick back and relax. Fulfilment isn’t just about delivery although they need to make sure they can cover this and be prepared for situations such as the recent strike that hit the Royal Mail,’ said Omwando.

‘But many people aren’t happy about giving personal details over the internet so retailers need to look at other ways people can pick up and pay for goods.

‘For example, online grocery businesses could let people order online and then pick up and pay for their goods from the store at times that are convenient for the shopper,’ she added.

Related reading