September 26, 2006, 12:00 AM

E-commerce sales in Western Europe to double in three years

Online sales in Western Europe are expected to reach $234 billion by the end of this decade, more than doubling sales of $97 billion this year, eMarketer reports. The U.K. leads, but sales in Germany and France are ramping up.


E-commerce is Europe is growing fast: retailers will sell $97 billion in goods and services this year, up 37% from last year, forecasts a new study by eMarketer. The United Kingdom, accounting for half of European online sales, is reaching the upper limits of rapid growth and its market share will drop to 44.5% by 2010 as online sales ramp up in Germany and France, according to study report.


The study, “Europe Retail E-commerce: Spotlight on the UK, Germany, and France,” is forecasting total e-commerce sales in Europe to more than double to $234 billion by the end of the decade. Though Germany has the most Internet users and households with broadband connectivity of any country in Europe, Germany’s online sales are only half of those in the U.K., and Germans currently spend much less online than in the U.K. or France, according to the report.


Germany’s relatively mild web shopping activity is most likely due to a national preference for debit cards over credit cards and a belief that bargains can’t be found on the Internet, eMarketer says. That positions Germany for eventual growth as increasing competition among web retailers reduces prices online, according to the report. In France, it is an increase in new buyers online rather than an increase in average spending per consumer that’s expected to drive future online sales growth.



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