Shopping Thrives Online Despite Recession

Online spending will rise by 13.3 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008, taking the total spend to US$33.4 billion (£20.9 billion), despite the global recession, says Verdict Research.

In its UK e-Retail 2009 report, the research company also predicts that online spending will continue to grow in 2010 to US$49.8 billion (£31.2 billion), accounting for 10 percent of the UK's total spending.

Verdict Research puts the rise down to the fact that shopping online is generally cheaper than on the high-street and consumers can search out bargains more easily. (See "8 Web Sites That Will Save You Cash" for a start.)

"Those with less money to spend are turning to the Internet to search out bargains on branded items like electricals," said Malcolm Pinkerton, author of the report.

The report also said that the rise in free delivery was attracting consumers to shop online. "With the likes of Play, Waitrose and Amazon offering gratis services, it is only a matter of time before the majority of retailers are forced to follow suit," Pinkerton added.

However, despite online sales being up, Verdict Research said the number of online shoppers had not grown at the same speed in previous years.

"Growth in the number of online shoppers in 2008 was strong, but considerably less than the growth seen in 2007. We predict that these growth rates will continue to fall over the next five years, as penetration of the population begins to level out."

Retailers WH Smith, Debenhams and Morrisons have all this week reported slightly more positive trends retuning to the British high street. Debenhams is a strong online performer, but Morrisons, unlike the other major supermarkets has not entered the online marketplace. Earlier this week the consumer confidence index also rose slightly.

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