July 2, 2010, 1:19 PM

U.K. online sales projected to more than double in 10 years

Online sales are expected to reach 123 billion pounds by 2020.

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E-retail sales in the U.K. will grow by 110% in the next 10 years, reaching 123 billion pounds ($186.7 billion) in 2020, predicts trade association the Interactive Media in Retail Group and technology and consulting company Capgemini in its 10th annual report on online sales.

Moreover, the report suggests that online retail will account for half of all retail purchases by 2020 and retailers’ online presences will influence most other retail sales.

“Britons are passionate about shopping online,” says James Roper, IMRG CEO. “The combination of ease, convenience, and 24/7 access is incredibly compelling. We expect to see that relationship strengthen over the coming decade.”

Over the past 10 years, the index has grown 5,772% as Britons have spent 250 billion pounds online in the last decade.

The report estimates that U.K. online sales will grow 12.4% year over year this year—to 56 billion pounds from 49.8 billion pounds in 2009. That follows 14% growth in 2009 and 25% growth in 2008. Annual growth peaked at 36% in 2006, the report says.

Today, 51% of U.K. adults, or roughly 30 million consumers, shop online, the report says. In 2001, 6 million U.K. consumers purchased online and e-retail sales totaled $1.8 billion pounds.

“The change in shopping habits over the last decade has been phenomenal,” says Chris Webster, Capgemini vice president, retail consulting and technology. “The Internet has become the first destination point for many consumers looking to get the best deals and retailers have stepped up to the mark by providing extremely compelling propositions.”

As the online retail market matures, online retailers will increase their cross-border sales in Europe and elsewhere, says the report.

“The challenge for the next 10 years will be for e-retailers to increase their share of the market even further and come up with new ways to extend brand loyalty,” says Webster.

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