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E-commerce market share trebles in UK

24 October 2011 - 09:08 by Paul Tissington

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UK consumers are shopping online in greater numbers than ever before, according to the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

E-commerce is now accountable for 9.6 per cent of the total retail market each month, which is three times the amount measured by the ONS back in 2007.

During September, UK consumers splashed out £539.4 million a week shopping online, up by 27 per cent year on year, as in September 2010 the total reached just £415.9 million.

The economic doom and gloom on the high street meant many experts expected the market to flat line last month, but instead there was a slight year on year increase of 0.6 per cent.

Consumer electronics made a significant contribution to this rise, with people using e-commerce sites to invest in laptops and also spend their disposable income on videogames.

Industry analysts, Christ Williamson, told Sky News, that retailers are bracing themselves for a less than stellar Christmas period due to rising inflation, increasing household bills and high unemployment.

Despite this, it is clear that online shopping is the outlet which many consumers are turning to in order to make their money go that little bit further.

With £1 in every £10 spent in the UK going to online outlets, e-commerce growth helped to outdo the 2.1 per cent drop in sales at high street stores.

Multichannel retailer, Debenhams, announced last week that 7.4 per cent of its sales had been made via its website in September, which suggests that many of the biggest companies are now relying on the web to continue expanding.

Debenhams is taking this multichannel approach even further by creating 650 kiosks with internet access in its bricks and mortar shops, to help users browse its online catalogue, if an item is not present in-store.