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Web sales topped £100 billion in 2014

16 January 2015 - 09:20 by Graham Miller

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Last year, British consumers spent over £100 billion online for the first time ever, according to new stats released by IMRG Capgemini.

Around a quarter of all retail sales are now accounted for by the web, with bricks and mortar outlets finding that their market share is continuing to shrink. And the growth of the e-commerce market shows no signs of abating, with analysts estimating that this year it will be 12 per cent bigger than it was in 2014.

The £104 billion that consumers collectively splashed out on sites offering safe shopping online was given quite the boost by big events like Black Friday, although the early start for sales in the pre-Christmas period actually meant that growth in December was muted.

In the last month of the year, this rise in retail activity across the board was just five per cent, according to figures published by the British Retail Consortium. But even in a period of apparent slowdown, online sales managed to continue the surge and help retailers to prop up their high street outlets.

Industry expert, Adgild Hop, told the Telegraph that there was trouble brewing as a result of the rise of Black Friday, since he argued that this kind of event may lead to lots of sales over a short period. But in doing so erodes the idea of a retailer building a relationship with consumers over an extended amount of time.

Flash sales and low costs online mean that people are more willing to shop around than ever, while, more importantly, having access to all the tools that make price comparison easy. So perhaps the long term solution is for retailers to work at engaging customers with more than dramatic discounts which do not last forever.