UK leads the online way, says report

The latest research from Mintel says that the UK is streets ahead of other European countries when it comes to buying online.
The organisation’s new e-commerce report, which looks at internet retailing in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, finds that UK online sales were worth 18.5b Euros (£12.8b) last year, compared to just 13b Euros in Germany, the next largest market. France (7b Euros), Italy (1.1b Euros) and Spain (1b Euros) follow some way behind the top two.

Not only does the UK have the largest online retail market it has also seen the fastest growth of the five countries. Between 2005 and 2007 the UK saw sales soar by 75%.

“The UK has by far and away the most developed online market in Europe,” comments Richard Perks, Mintel’s director of retail research. “The main reason for this is the sophisticated online offering of the UK’s food

retailers and the fact that so many of us are now more than happy to turn to the Internet to do our weekly shop. The consumer boom of the last few years has also undoubtedly played a key role, when British shoppers were always keen to spend their hard-earned cash.”

The largest online retailer is Otto Group in Germany, which has successfully moved a large portion of its catalogue mail order business online, says Mintel. Amazon is the European number three, after Otto Group and Arcandor, thanks to the continued expansion of its inventory at its three European businesses.

“Amazon is the only pureplay Internet retailer in the top 10, while five of the top 10 retailers are mail order groups that have developed their e-commerce operations as a means of stemming the decline of traditional big book mail order and reducing overheads,” says Perks.

Tesco is the largest online food retailer in Europe, the vast majority of its online turnover coming from groceries. is more thantwice the size of its nearest rival,, run by Carrefour.

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