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Research predicts significant growth for e-commerce

29 October 2012 - 15:17 by Graham Miller

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At the moment about 13 per cent of all retail sales in the UK are channelled through sites offering safe shopping online, with bricks and mortar retail still accounting for the majority of the market.

However, a new report from the Economics Intelligence Unit, suggests that things will change dramatically over the next 10 years, with e-commerce advances turning high street outlets into what are effectively showroom environments.

Experts predict that in 2022, at least a third of the UK's retail market will be accounted for by safe shopping online, with the suggestion being that this could be a much higher percentage when the time comes.

It is also argued that most people will carry out their shopping transactions via the internet rather than in-store checkout services, presumably as a result of the influence of m-commerce services and mobile devices for payment.

Spokesperson, Jon Copestake, said that the high street will survive as a type of showroom, since people will want to visit stores to interact with products before they buy them. But the implication is that consumers will then turn to the web to complete the transaction.

The first half of 2012 was rather grim for the UK's high streets, since about 20 shops a day were being closed, many of which were owned or operated by major retail chains, according to the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, online retailers have taken tentative steps into the high street, with both eBay and Amazon attempting to put their physical stamp on the market.

It is thought that consumers will now seek low prices in their everyday purchases, which means looking to online discounts, so that they can afford the luxury items that they also crave.

The shift in habits might reshape the high street, but will also serve to strengthen the position of e-commerce in the economy.