Going for Online Gold in 2012

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We’re a nation in love with e-shopping! Come the London Olympics, online stores will also be going for Gold. Right now, we’re shopping for England (and for Scotland, Wales and Ireland) when it comes to buying online – out-shopping our European neighbours. Online sales in Britain raced ahead to £12.8 billion last year, placing us in gold medal position in the e-shopping league.

In silver medal position is Germany – Europe’s second biggest internet shoppers. But the Germans have some way to go to catch up with the Brits – they spend about 20% less on-line than us – £10.3billion a year, according to a recent Mintel report. France is in bronze position, with £5.5 billion on-line sales, lamely followed by Italy and Spain who only spend £870 million and £790 million respectively.

I’m far from surprised by the figures however, as Chapter Eight’s UK clients alone accrue over £7 million from online customers every month.

By 2012 on-line sales will rise 199 per cent

Britain has the highest rate of growth in online shopping – a massive 75 per cent increase on revenue between 2005 and 2007. By 2012, we’ll see that growth rise to a staggering 199 per cent.

So what makes us Brits such big on-line spenders? Well, it’s the sophisticated allure of our websites that account for the nation’s web affair. Certainly Chapter Eight customers profit from both sophisticated and alluring websites. Labels like Lyle & Scott, Viyella and Sock Shop are amongst clients who have turned from retail to e-tail to wow customers.

UK boasts most sophisticated websites

It’s a theory backed by head of Mintel Retail Research, Richard Perks, who confirms that “Britain has the most developed online market in Europe”, thanks to the sophisticated offerings of British retailers. Leading the way is the biggest online food retailer in Europe, Tesco. The bulk of its turnover comes from its online grocery sales. Tesco’s website attracts more than double the revenue of its closest European rival, the French retailer Carrefour.

But are UK businesses ready for 2012?

Those in tune with retail trends are ready – Chapter Eight has enjoyed a 200% growth in new business in the last 12 months. Much of that has come from clients who have outgrown existing websites and who want a fresh approach to an e-commerce, or from clients who are newly moving from a high street store to a virtual store. 99% of the websites we build are e-tail driven – the days of brochure websites are numbered, unless they lead customers directly to a tele-sales destination.

It’s interesting to note that the predicted growth of online sales will tie in with the London Olympics. Let’s hope that Britain’s e-tailers are following the same rigourous and disciplined approach as our athletes aiming for Gold.