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Monday, 12 June, 2000, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Web grows on UK shoppers
woman shopping in supermarket
Shoppers are finding it easier to click on the mouse
Shopping on the internet grew 71% in the UK in the six months to April, according to research consultancy Verdict.

In its latest industry report, Verdict said it expected shoppers to be spending 12.53bn online by 2005, or 5% of total retail sales.

UK online shopping
581m in 1999 (0.3% of sales)
8.84bn by 2004* (3.6%)
12.53bn by 2005* (5%)
*Verdict prediction

The grocery market is leading the way, but interactive television is expected to provide a boost for the clothing sector, where sales are forecast to rise to 1.2bn or 2.7% of sector sales by 2004, Verdict said.

Mobile phones and other technology developments are also expected to enhance online sales figures to 5% of the total by 2005.

Figures for the period also show that women are fast catching up with men in shopping from their computer screen.

"By far the largest part will be cannibalised from existing sales via stores and mail order catalogues," the report said.

Only 6% of internet sales are expected to be new business, with 94% taken directly from existing channels.

Retailers are well aware of the growing threat posed to their shop businesses and, in an effort to gain more than one route to market, 26 of the top 100 retailers launched websites in the last six months, to make 87 in total.

About 36 of them now have transactional websites.

Untapped potential

However, relatively few of the estimated 11.6m people in the UK with internet access actually buy something online.

A significant time lag has been established between people logging on and actually buying from the internet.

"This shows what a massive untapped potential there is waiting for retailers who can convert lookers into buyers," said Verdict.

It said the two main obstacles were security and delivery.

Some 25% of shoppers have a problem finding convenient delivery times and 41% of internet users are worried about the safety of disclosing financial details.

"Excellence in all aspects of fulfilment will separate the online winners from the losers over the next five years," Verdict said.

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17 Jan 00 | Business
Online shopping set to boom
16 Feb 00 | Business
Internet sales 'will jam roads'
11 Apr 00 | Business
Net move as Tesco booms
19 Apr 00 | Business
Later delivery for e-tailers
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