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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK

Business: The Economy

UK logs on to e-commerce

Online trading is growing fast

The UK is experiencing an e-commerce boom, with growing numbers ging online to do their shopping or manage their finances, reports say.

A survey by management consultants Datamonitor says online shopping and banking are becoming increasingly popular.

More than one in five consumers with access to the Internet have ordered products online, the report said.

And 8% of those surveyed used the Net to monitor their finances.

Internet share trading is showing rapid growth too, up by 21,555 users in the second quarter of 1999, according to a separate survey by the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (APCIMS).

Geographical variations

The level of e-commerce penetration was particularly high in London, where almost one in two people have access to a computer at home.

In the capital, 27% of Net users had shopped online, the report said.

Datamonitor analyst Alexander Rainer said: "One in four Londoners Online at home or work order products via the Internet.

"This figure is surprisingly high, considering a minority of UK Websites currently have transactional capabilities.

"This therefore reflects the importance of urban areas for electronic merchants."

However, for Internet banking, rural areas proved the most fertile territory - with the highest rate of use in East Anglia, at 14%.

Mr Rainer said: "Rural regions such as East Anglia and Scotland appear to have the biggest appetite for online banking as many consumers live far from their branch.

Internet trading increases

"Where people live in a more pressured working environment, like in London, online banking is driven by the convenience of 24-hour availablilty."

The separate APCIMS survey showed that Internet share trading rose by nearly 60% in the last quarter.

However, it still only accounts for 1.6% of all trades, the association said.

Online trades averaged a value of £4,730 - compared to £6,444 for trades through other stockbrokers.

The growth in Internet trading is expected to increase in the coming months, as more brokers develop the capacity to trade online.

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