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New research shows UK to be largest online spender in Europe

12 February 2010 - 15:11 by Simon Crisp

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Online spending in the UK rose to a total of £38bn for 2009, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR). This figure accounts for 10% of all UK retail sales for the year, thus seeming to highlight the extent to which shopping online has become ingrained in the typical modern lifestyle. The CRR also released projections for online shopping in 2010, considering that total online sales will peak at around £42.7bn for the year.

The 2009 figures for online spending place the UK as the most prolific online spender for the year, with Germany following second (at £29.7bn) and France third (at £22bn). According to price comparison site, Kelkoo, which commissioned the research, these figures bode well for 2010. Managing Director, Bruce Fair, stated that, 'This year is when we will really start to see online sales achieving a significant share of overall retail trade.'

Some observers of spending trends have registered surprise at the increase in shopping online in 2009, given the depth of the recent global recession, but analysts have claimed that such growth of online spending is in fact quite a logical outcome of a large economic downturn. As shoppers look to save money in the wake of a recession, spending habits typically move toward the pursuit of greater discounts - something which tends to be found with rather greater ease on the web than on the High Street.

However, anti-fraud agencies continue to urge shoppers to adhere to safe online shopping practices at all times, as scammers are increasingly using consumers' desire to find the best prices against them. In general, the advice given is only to buy products from recognised, online sellers with well known secure payment systems.