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UK spends £250 billion online over a decade

05 July 2010 - 10:34 by Simon Crisp

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The total revenues attributable to online shopping in the UK over the past decade have come to over £250 billion, according to research from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

When you consider that there are over 61 million people living in the UK today, this total averages out to roughly £4000 spent shopping online for every man, woman and child. Of course the distribution of internet access around the UK is far from universal, so many will have contributed significantly more over the course of 10 years.

Nine years ago roughly six million UK citizens were regularly buying goods online and the annual turnover for online retailers was about £1.8 billion. IMRG predicts that in 2010 Brits will spend £56 billion online, which is a 300 per cent year-on-year increase and a 3100 per cent jump over the course of the decade.

The recession did put dampener on the growth of online retail, with a relatively modest 14 per cent increase recorded in 2009. Compared to many other industries, this performance was impressive and the economic recovery appears to be ensuring that 2010 is even more lucrative for those involved in e-Commerce.

The next decade is likely to see online shopping growing at a slower rate in the UK as the level of penetration reaches critical mass, which in 2020 will equate to a total annual spend of £123 billion, according to the IMRG report. This will be the same as a year-on-year growth of six per cent.

IMRG expects the sales of smartphones and mobiles to drive m-commerce as a major contributor to the statistics, with many turning to their mobiles for safe shopping online in addition to using their home computers to buy the latest gadgets.

IMRG head James Roper said that UK consumers remained keen on safe shopping online, with the fact that the internet provides for on-tap choice in any location further fuelling its growth.