Within five years, a quarter of all UK shopping will be conducted via the Internet or mobile devices, according to the Interactive Media Retail Group.
IMRG says that 2004 is the year that Internet shopping will become mass market, as millions of consumers routinely go online to research and buy every kind of product and service. The industry body forecasts that twenty million British shoppers will spend £17 billion online this year.
By 2009, the value of the market will have risen to £80 billion, as one-in-four retail purchases in the UK are made online. A further 20% of purchases will be influenced by online research.
IMRG is making the forecasts on the back of four years of hard data collation from online retailers. It says payment systems and consumer confidence have now dropped down the priority list of member organisations, who are increasingly turning their attention to customer retention strategies and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Whereas 27% of British consumers have shopped online, the European Commission reported this month that Internet shopping is still not widely used in the European Union with just 16% of consumers having made a purchase over the Web, and that consumers' lack of confidence is a key inhibitor.