Online spending in the UK to surge despite recession

Bargain hunters head to web rather than high street

The UK market's online spending in 2009 will rise by 13.3 percent compared to last year, taking the total spend to £20.9bn, despite the global recession, says Verdict Research.

In its UK e-Retail 2009 report, the research company also predicts that online spending will continue to grow in 2010 to £31.2bn, accounting for 10 percent of the UK's total spending.

Verdict Research puts the rise down to the fact that shopping online is generally cheaper than on the high-street and consumers can search out bargains — on products such as televisions and MP3 players — more easily.

"Those with less money to spend are turning to the internet to search out bargains on branded items like electricals," said Malcolm Pinkerton, author of the report.

The report also said that the rise in free delivery was attracting consumers to shop online. "With the likes of Play, Waitrose and Amazon offering gratis services, it is only a matter of time before the majority of retailers are forced to follow suit," Pinkerton added.

However, despite online sales being up, Verdict Research said the number of online shoppers had not grown at the same speed in previous years.

"Growth in the number of online shoppers in 2008 was strong, but considerably less than the growth seen in 2007. We predict that these growth rates will continue to fall over the next five years, as penetration of the population begins to level out."

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Carrie-Ann Skinner

PC Advisor (UK)
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