September 10, 2002, 12:00 AM

European online sales to equal web-influenced offline sales by 2007

Forrester projects that, in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, total online retail sales will reach 170.69 billion euros in 2007, 99% of web-influenced retail sales, compared to 287% in 2002.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

The number of online retail sales in Europe will equal the number of web-influenced offline sales within five years, reports the Amsterdam-based office of Forrester Research Inc.

Forrester projects that, in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, total online retail sales will reach 170.69 billion euros (US$167.95 billion) in 2007, 99% of web-influenced retail sales, compared to 287% in 2002. Forrester projects that 2007 web-influenced sales will reach 172.4 billion euros (US$169.6 billion).

The research indicates that, overall, the value of purchasing decisions influenced by web use will level off with the value of online sales. Forrester attributes the closing of the gap to increases by 2006 in the number of European web users, which Forrester projects will reach 200 million, and in European online sales as a percentage of retail sales, which it projects will reach 6.4%, or 152 billion euros (US$149.6 billion).

But not all products will show the same comparisons with web-influenced sales, Forrester says. Product categories that consumers tend to prefer to see and touch before buying--such as footwear, furniture and jewelry/watches--will continue to show far fewer online sales than web-influenced sales, meaning that most European web shoppers will continue to buy offline after the web influences their decision to purchase.

Still, even these products will show a significant shift toward online sales that follow web-influenced decisions. For footwear, web-influenced sales as a percentage of online sales will decrease from a factor of 18 times online sales today to four times online sales in 2007. For furniture, the factor will decrease from 15 times to 3.7; and for jewelry/watches, from 11 to 3.

Product categories that will show more online sales than web-influenced sales in 2007 include videos/DVDs, books and consumer electronics. For videos/DVDs, web-influenced sales as a percentage of online sales will go from 95% today to 51% in 2007. For books, the percentage will go from 109% to 79%; and for consumer electronics, from 172% to 70%.

 

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