Online Spending Up 50% in Britain

Maybe it was the cold weather or the economy, but more consumers are spending more money shopping on the Internet, and experts think the trend will continue

UK consumers spent £13bn online in the first three months of this year, the equivalent to £213 for every person in the country.

Compared to figures for the first quarter of 2007, the spend marks an increase of 50.5 per cent, according to the latest report from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

A whopping £850m was spent online in the week of the Easter holidays alone.

The year-on-year online shopping figures for March show big increases in beers, wines and spirits purchases, which increased 28 per cent. Clothing, footwear and accessories did even better with an increase of 31 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

The electrical sector fared less well but also showed positive growth of 6.8 per cent year-on-year in March.

Capgemini UK Consumer products and retail team VP Anthoula Madden told the rise in online spend, especially in beers, wines and spirits could be affected by seasonal, weather and economic factors.

She said people may be spending more time at home instead of going out as they watch the pennies and the unseasonably cold weather also contributed to this. The added duty on alcohol could also have spurred people to look for the best deals online.

Madden said: "There is still a huge trend for growth though. I think this growth will continue, although perhaps not at the rate we have seen, as shoppers get more comfortable with buying a wide range of goods over the internet."

The results conflict slightly with other data out recently from the British Retail Consortium, which found shoppers were less inclined to use credit and debit cards, preferring to spend only the money they knew they had.

Madden said: "I think shoppers feel a little bit more in control when they are shopping in their own homes. They can step back a bit and consider how much they should spend."

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