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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 17:02 GMT
Online shopping soars in Europe
Computer users
Ever more Europeans become internet shoppers
European shoppers will this Christmas spend more online than North American consumers, researchers predict.

According to a study compiled by GartnerG2, European internet shoppers are expected to spend $15.8bn (10.17bn) during the October to December period, marginally more than their North American brothers and sisters in arms, which are expected to order goods and services worth $15.7bn.

The key to the success of European online retailers is multi-channel marketing. Companies have integrated their mail order and internet presence, the Gartner experts say.

"Europeans are using multiple channels, browsing printed catalogues and then ordering online," said GartnerG2 analyst Bill Mander.

"We're seeing this happen more, especially in the clothing and toy merchandise industries."

Global growth

The growth rate in the e-commerce market is expected to reach 75% in Europe this year.

This compares with 32.1% growth in North America and 37.7% growth in Japan.

Globally, e-commerce is set to grow 48.4% this year to $38bn, GartnerG2 said.

"Retailers should be prepared for a fourth quarter online shopping onslaught, even as the global economic outlook continues to sour," said GartnerG2 analyst Michael Cruz.

However, when compared with previous years, the e-commerce sector is set to grow very slowly.

It is a sign of a maturing market and bodes well for the sector, the analysts said, predicting that many of the players in the e-commerce market were now here to stay.

In the United States, for example, every year more than 77 million adults are now buying goods online.

Long-term, Europe can look forward to further growth as broadband internet access is spreading.

So far "many Europeans remain unfamiliar with what broadband is and what it can do", the Gartner experts say.

See also:

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