Britons take title of Europe's biggest online shoppers

BRITONS are the biggest online spenders in Europe, making nearly a third of all internet purchases across the continent during 2009, a report has shown.

UK consumers collectively spent an estimated 38 billion online last year, accounting for 30 per cent of total European internet sales, according to price comparison site Kelkoo.

Despite the recession, online sales grew by 12 per cent in the UK during 2009, with purchases made over the internet making up 9.5 per cent of all retail sales in this country.

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The report, which was carried out by the Centre for Retail Research, predicts the UK online market will continue to expand during 2010, growing by 12.4 per cent to 42.7bn.

But this growth will be dwarfed by the 19.6 per cent jump the group is expecting across Europe as a whole, pushing the total value of sales up to 152.8bn.

The UK is currently the single biggest online market, followed by Germany and France, with these three countries collectively accounting for 70 per cent of internet sales in Europe.

At the other end of the scale, Poland has the smallest market with sales of only 2.2bn, with Finland and Norway having only slightly bigger markets at 2.3bn billion and 2.9bn respectively.

Across Europe as a whole, internet sales accounted for 4.7 per cent of all retail sales, and this figure is expected to increase to 5.5 per cent in 2010.