E-commerce market to double in size by 2018

New report hightlights opportunities for online retailers with Britons currently spending £1 in every £5 of their shopping online

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The world’s largest e-commerce markets, including the UK, are set to double in size by 2018 growing to a value of £645bn, new research by Google, PayPal and OC&C Strategy Consultants has concluded.

The report, compiled using search trends and payment transactions, claims that online retail in the UK, US, China and Germany will increase by £320bn over the next three years boosted by smartphones and more businesses investing in digital.

In the UK, the report found that Britons are currently spending £1 of every £5 of their shopping online with 59% of sales made through mobiles or tablets.

Britain was also found to be the most popular online overseas destination for German and Chinese shoppers, spending an average of 2.7 times and 1.7 times more in each transaction respectively.

International shoppers cited the quality of British goods, choice of product and pricing as reasons for buying overseas, while concerns included data security and the inability to return unwanted products.

OC&C’s head of retail, Anita Balchandani, said of the findings: “The study has shown that UK retailers are some of the world’s most popular and are in a strong position to seize more opportunities abroad.

“But at the moment, the majority are only doing the basics to adequately serve foreign markets for example, by offering international delivery on their UK website and working with partners to provide local returns addresses.”

Martijn Bertisen, Google UK sales director, added:

“The number of people with internet access is growing fast, with many new consumers skipping the desktop phase entirely and only experiencing the web through a smartphone.

“Our study shows that this is increasingly translating into mobile transactions and that a mobile-first or even mobile-only strategy is now imperative to international success in retail.”

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