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Monday, 22 November, 1999, 04:20 GMT
Online shopping boom
Internet users bought 2bn worth of goods last year

Online shopping is booming in the UK, with 2bn worth of goods bought on the web in the last year, a report suggests.

But this is still less than 1% of all retail purchases, the report from Continental Research says. Few people buy on the web regularly.

The most popular online purchases are books and travel-related goods, with 56% of web users buying a book online in the last year. This compares with 17% of web users in the previous year.

Travel and financial products are also in demand. This follows aggressive marketing from companies such as online bank Egg, part of financial services giant Prudential, and low-coast airline EasyJet.

User profile

Some 40% of the population have access to the internet, the report says. These users have an average income of 40,000, which is more than double the national average of about 18,000.

Women still lag behind men when it comes to web usage. Just more than one third of internet users are female ( about 35%), while 65% are male. Users tend to be either students or people with full time jobs.

A clutch of recent reports have suggested that more people are doing business on the web.

More than one in five consumers with access to the internet have ordered products online, a Datamonitor report found earlier this year.

Online share dealing has tripled in the past three months and is set to continue growing, an investment managers survey found.

Business goes online

More and more UK businesses have launched online outlets.

Woolworths is set to be next, with its site expected to be open for business on 1 December.

"The focus is giving the customers the ability to shop with Woolworths whenever they want, wherever they want," Woolworths' Colin Cobain said.

The UK's biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, is to launch an online retail outlet in direct competition with and WH Smith, selling books, CDs and videos - with plans to expand later into electrical goods.

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See also:
01 Nov 99 |  The Economy
Bosses told 'get online or get out'
20 Sep 99 |  The Company File
Internet shopping explosion
28 Oct 99 |  The Company File
WH Smith pushes online books
18 Nov 99 |  Business
Online share dealing triples

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