European online sales to surge to €323bn by 2018

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ONLINE retail sales in Europe are expected to double by 2018 to €323 billion (£275bn), with the UK one of the fastest growing markets, market research firm Mintel said yesterday.

In a survey of 19 markets in Europe, Mintel said the UK, France and Germany would remain by far the biggest markets for online retail over the next five years, although the Netherlands, Poland and Spain should grow at a faster rate. Norway and Sweden also have the highest current online per-capita spend.

Mintel predicted Amazon could double its Europe-wide market share in the next three to four years despite negative publicity in the UK over its low tax bills and in Germany prompted by strikes at its distribution centres.

Amazon was performing strongly despite having only five dedicated country websites in Europe – in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

UK grocers are also well represented in Mintel’s current 
European top ten, with Tesco holding its market share steady at 2.3 per cent and Walmart-owned Asda and Sainsbury’s on 1.1 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.

Amazon is extending its lead on the continent, growing market share to 9.8 per cent in 2012 from 9.2 per cent in 2011, while Germany’s Otto, its next closest rival, saw its share slip to 3.3 per cent from 3.9 per cent.