Etail is showing no signs of being slowed down by the current economic downturn, with electricals continuing to dominate the market, according to a report released today by Verdict Research.
According to the report, online sales rose by 35 per cent in 2007 to £14.7 billion, almost ten times the growth the wider UK retail market saw during the same period. The rate of growth is expected to continue with online sales set to hit £44.9 billion by 2012.
Electricals continued to dominate online sales, with it taking a quarter of all retail activity during the period. However, research shows that in the long term, food sales are set to overtake those of electricals with each sector's market share being 29 per cent and 22 per cent by 2012 respectively.
However, despite the decrease in market shares, electrical sales are expected to continue their move towards being online. Currently, the percentage of total electrical sales online stands at 15.1 per cent, although that figure is expected to double over the next five years.
Verdict found that much of the change in shopping habits were being motivated in part by people working longer and wishing to make more effective use of their limited leisure time, as well as the lower cost of buying products online helping customers to save their increasingly limited disposable income.
"The internet is widely perceived as a cheaper and easier way of finding lower prices and bargains in most sectors," said senior retail analyst at Verdict Research, Malcolm Pinkerton.
"As the cost of broadband falls, consumers have become accustomed to internet shopping and retailers continue to enhance their online propositions, the channel will find itself extremely well placed to capitalise on the falling consumer confidence and lower levels of disposable income currently impacting the retail market," he added.