Amazon leads the pack as online retail sales surge
ONLINE retail sales in Europe will double within five years, with Amazon expected to grow even faster than that, new research has claimed.
According to market research group Mintel, the online market will double to €323bn by 2018.
In the survey of 19 markets in Europe, it also predicted online sales would grow to €188bn in 2013 from €166bn in 2012.
Sheila Buckley, the head of eTail Excellence Ireland, says there is "massive growth" in online sales in Ireland. "Retail sales are going at 20pc per year and that is a conservative figure," she said.
"Irish businesses actually have stronger growth than their European counterparts and that has doubled since 2008."
But barriers such as cost and lack of skills mean that half of Irish SMEs are still not online today and "that is a significant issue", said Ms Buckley.
Mintel said Germany, Britain and France would remain by far the biggest markets for online retail by 2018, although the Netherlands, Spain and Poland should grow at a faster rate, and Norway and Sweden have the highest online per-capita spend.
"There is a big north-south divide in e-commerce in Europe," Mintel European retail analyst John Mercer said, adding French participation lagged Britain and Germany by five years, while Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy were even further behind.
Amazon is extending its lead, with market share growing to 9.8pc in 2012 from 9.2pc in 2011, as rivals' market share fell. Mintel predicted Amazon could double its Europe market share in the next three to four years. (Reuters)