2011 showed that the E-commerce industry hit record levels in the UK. Numerous stores are now adopting an online presence to sell their products and high street sales have been declining with online shopping outperforming the high street equivalent. According to the e-retail watchdog IMRG (2011) 71% of UK online shoppers now believe the best deals are online.
The strong sales in e-commerce in 2011 showed that £68bn was spent online; this is a 16% increase from 2010. Top 3 sectors that performed well in e-commerce were Clothing; Beer, Wine & Spirits; Health & Beauty (IMRG). Additionally according to their research £7.9bn was spent online during December 2011 – a record index score with 16.5% year-on-year growth.
There are many reasons why consumers do their shopping online as there are many more advantages of shopping online than choosing the high street. It is time saving and people do not have to brave bad weather conditions. Online shopping can be done 24/7; it does not take ages to find what you are looking for, and purchasing can be done relatively simply. Furthermore we can see that increases in online shopping have happened thanks to the rapid changes in technology (broadband, the increased use of tablets and smartphone devices), and because comparisons can now more easily be made to find online product deals to compare to those on the high street.
Online shopping is no longer risky, and people now feel more secure to do more of their shopping online. Online adverts are expected to account for 40% of total media spend in the UK by 2015 (eMarketer, June 2011) and that forecasts from one source suggest that 2012 will achieve a 13% growth and generate around £77bn in total e-retail sales (digitalstrategyconsulting.com).
We too believe that growth in e-commerce sales will continue to be strong but at the same time that the competitive nature of online sales will also continue to hot up. The increased number and use of applications on the iPhone and Android devices that facilitate cross comparison of products, prices and locations in real time will intensify the hunt for bargains and best price deals, particularly in the harsh economic reality of today. So online stores will proliferate, but the landscape will get even keener for those merchants, and potentially even better deals for the customers.