Online shopping boosts European sales
Online retail sales have grown much faster than total retail sales across several European markets. The Netherlands saw the highest growth in festive online retail sales, increasing by 40% year-on-year throughout November and December 2010, followed by the UK where online retail sales grew by 25% year-on-year in December 2010, and then France with 24% growth year-on-year in December.
Peter Gold, Head of Cross Border Retail - EMEA, commented: "The huge increase in online sales reflects a continuing and fundamental shift in shopping patterns as more and more shoppers buy online to take advantage of better prices and convenience.
“There are still significant opportunities for international retailers to increase their internet sales across Europe, particularly in the emerging online markets of the CEE region. Retailers are recognising the importance of a strong online presence to support their overall growth strategy. Many retailers have embraced online shopping and now view it as a key to optimise their turnover potential.”
Although the more ‘mature’ markets of western and northern Europe registered the highest level of online sales in 2010 and there is currently a clear north/south and east/west split in online uptake, shopping patterns in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are changing and the growing impact of online retailing is evident. After posting leading growth in overall retail sales in Europe over the Christmas period and with local retailers considering an online platform a ‘must have’ option, Poland is tipped to be the fastest growing online market in 2011.
Overall, 2010 Christmas retail sales across Europe remained flat as shoppers became increasingly cautious with their money as a result of austerity measures which took effect in many countries, severe weather conditions and the prospect of higher sales taxes and rising prices in some markets. However, retail spending grew throughout the second half of 2010 in the CEE region and Russia. Poland in particular, saw retail sales rise by a huge 12% year-on-year in December 2010. Hungary followed closely behind with retail sales over the Christmas period expected to be ahead by 5% compared to the same period in 2009. This upturn in consumer spending could be attributed to the introduction of a 16% flat rate income tax in Hungary, introduced in January 2011. The Nordics region, in particular Sweden, saw retail sales grow by 3.4% during December, with all retail sectors performing well.
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