Online spending by consumers on retail purchases increased by 35 per cent to almost £15 billion in 2007, according to Verdicts’ report, UK e-retail 2008. Similarly, the number of online shoppers increased by 24.7 per cent to 22.6 million, with shoppers also purchasing more regularly.
Out of the 4.059 adults surveyed, more than half said their main reason for shopping online was its convenience.
The research group predicts online retail to reach £44.9 million by 2012, almost 14 per cent of total online spending.
The report recommends that retailers establish links between in-store and online offers in order to give consumers choice of where they can make purchases, and to drive footfall to stores.
Malcolm Pinkerton, senior retail analyst at Verdict Research and author of the report, said: "As the cost of broadband falls, consumers become accustomed to Internet shopping and retailers continue to enhance their online propositions, the channel will find itself extremely well-placed to capitalise on the falling consumer confidence and lower levels of disposable income currently impacting the retail market.
“In many cases online and in-store sales channels will simply blur into one, becoming fully integrated. There is still a need for physical locations, but the number of stores required will vary according to sector.
“Having an Internet presence is now vital and the combination of an in-store and online presence with strong links between the two is essential, giving the consumer choice by becoming multi-channel is the key to success.”