March 16, 2011, 3:24 PM

E-commerce is doing better than OK in the U.K.

That's because more than 50% of consumers in the U.K. with Internet access shop online.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Shoppers in the United Kingdom have embraced e-commerce.

The 82 U.K. retailers in the Top 300 Europe accounted for 16.55 billion euros (US$23.04 billion) in web sales in 2010, according to Internet Retailer’s newly published Top 300 Europe research guide.

Those U.K. retailers garnered 29.9% of total 2010 e-commerce sales in that country, which reached 55.4 billion euros (US$77.13 billion), according to Interactive Media in Retail Group, a web retailing industry association.

The largest web retailers in the U.K., such as Tesco Stores (groceries, electronics and furniture), Home Retail Group (home and general merchandise) and Dixon’s Stores Group (electronics) are well-known retail brands that have successfully transferred their brand presence from stores and catalogs to the web, says David Smith, managing director at IMRG. Those three retailers are the top three among U.K. retailers and are among the top 10 in the Top 300 Europe

Total web sales in the U.K. grew by 18.1% in 2010, from 46.9 billion euros (US$65.29 billion) in 2009, IMRG says. U.K. retailers in the Top 300 Europe grew 2010 web sales by 13.6%, from 14.57 billion euros (US$20.28 billion) in 2009.

More than 50% of consumers in the U.K. with Internet access shop online, Smith says. That penetration has been driven by two key factors in the U.K., he says.

“There’s a real correlation in the amount of money spent and the uptick of high-speed broadband since 2006,” Smith says. “The other factor is the high penetration of credit card usage.”

Another factor behind the advent of e-commerce in the U.K. include a strong tradition of home shopping via catalogs, which also exists in Germany and France but not in Italy or Spain, says Tony Stockil, CEO of Javelin Group, an e-commerce consulting firm based in London. Catalog roots helped develop home delivery services, as well as consumers’ comfort with using their credit cards, he adds.

The general wealth of the U.K.’s population also plays a role because they are willing to pay for home delivery of many goods, especially groceries, which account for about 25% of online retail sales,Stockil says.

To order a copy of the Top 300 Europe, click here.

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