UK Internet Shopping Hits £13.8bn
Good news for Internet sales as UK online Christmas shopping will reach £13.8bn this year, according to two new surveys. The Trading Standards Institute warns of some of the pitfalls of "buying from afar" in its National Consumer Week (Nov 12-16)
Many consumers do not understand their rights or the potential risks when buying goods online, according to The
Trading Standards Institute.
It believes many of the UK's 62,000-plus internet traders are not aware of their responsibilities either.
The warning comes as part of National Consumer Week, which this year focuses on "buying from afar". One study suggests that the total amount spent by UK consumers online may reach as much as £40bn this year.
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'Our principal message is simple: when buying from afar, know what your rights are!' said Mr Gainsford.
The OFT also found that many businesses did not know their obligations under the Distance Selling Regulations(DSRs) which provide additional protection for shoppers when buying online. Some businesses could also do more to address consumers' concerns about privacy and security.
The OFT will now work with consumer groups, businesses and other public bodies to:
* ensure that businesses have easy access to clear information and advice about selling online
* advise shoppers how to protect themselves from security and privacy threats
* make sure businesses address shoppers' concerns in terms of avoiding the most frequent problems by providing contact details and a secure environment, and
* improve compliance and enforcement, to make the internet a safer environment for buying and selling, and build consumer confidence in internet shopping.
Online shopping to account for 40% of UK sales by 2020
Research by online shopping comparison service uSwitch has predicted that online retail will almost quadruple by 2020. Other key figures include:
Online sales will reach £40bn this year - 15% of UK retail sales.
Online sales will quadruple to £162bn by 2020.
8m UK households spend on average two hours a day shopping online.
The average household spends £980 a year online, representing 10% of their annual shopping bill.
According to the survey, the most popular products bought online are holidays, music and films.
Average online savings are 13% on grocery items, 21% on services and 15% on travel and leisure activities.
Uswitch's 2007 figure is based on data pulled from official Office for National Statistics retail numbers.
A separate study from Forrester Research predicts that online Christmas shopping will reach £13.8bn this year, a 42% increase on 2006. More than three quarters of British homes now have broadband internet.
Online retail continues to grow, with a 58% increase in year-on-year sales in 2007. Online sales during the Christmas period are no exception. This year will bring good tidings to Europe's online retailers, which will rake in €51 billion collectively between October and the year's end — always the most important quarter for European retailers. The largest online retail market is the UK, with 27 million online shoppers spending more than €700 each online during the Christmas shopping season — accounting for a record-breaking €20 billion in online sales. Germany's online shopping spend has grown to €12 billion. The categories that show the biggest uplift are the typical gift items — books, videos and DVDs, jewelry, toys, video games, consumer electronics, and alcohol. Despite a smaller Christmas season boost, the leisure travel category will claim the most online sales — responsible for 31% of Christmas sales.
Industry watchdog Ofcom has released its latest quarterly figures yesterday, showing the amount of broadband lines enabled in the UK.
Its Telecommunications Market report, which covers the first period of 2007, shows that Britain now hosts just under 14.4 million broadband connections.
Of these, 3.7 million were ADSL copper wire lines run by BT and 3.2 million were cable lines run by Virgin Media.
The increasing prominence of local loop unbundling (LLU) - where rival internet service providers unhook their networks from BT's at telephone exchanges - was also reflected by the results, with 5 million UK LLU lines detected.
"Subscribers from both Virgin's cable service and BT Wholesale's third party ISP's have been jumping onto rival LLU based products, no doubt lured in by a mix of cheaper prices, bundles and general market acquisition movement," industry source ISPreview commented.
Nevertheless, increased sales for BT broadband was registered from last quarter's Ofcom results was detected, with the telecom's overall market share found to be growing from 23.9% to 25.9%.