Online sales rocket past high streets

E-shops close in on department stores in goods sold

Online shopping grew 15 times faster than the retail sector’s overall rate of growth, according to market analysts.

A new report from Verdict Research shows that £8.2bn worth of goods were purchased in the UK last year from internet web sites, up nearly 29% over the year before.

The UK’s overall retail sales grew just 1.5% in 2005, the sector’s slowest rate in decades.

Shoppers told Verdict that the convenience of shopping from home at any time, as well as lower prices, were the main draw to online shopping, which has nearly equaled department stores in terms of sales.

Last year’s surge was helped by increased spending from so-called ‘silver surfers’, or online shoppers over the age of 55.

This sector nearly doubled to 2.7 million users last year who increased their spending by almost 50% to an average of £458 per person.

“E-tail is redefining how people select retailers, enabling them to find the lowest price product and allowing them to shop at a time that suits them,” said Nick Gladding, senior retail analyst at Verdict Research.

“This makes online retailers far more formidable competitors to high street retailers than their current sales figures suggest.”

The report found that a quarter of all British consumers now buy goods over the internet, as the online shopping community expanded to 14.6 million people.


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