The rise of online retail has been a well documented phenomenon; it is the only sector to register consistent growth during the recession and in December 2009 we reported that one in ten people in the whole of the UK would be doing their Christmas shopping online.
Therefore, it comes as little surprise that Christmas 2009 was the best year ever recorded for online retailers. According to a new report by online watchdog the IAB; sales were up by over fifty percent from last Christmas, which has prompted many consumer behaviour analysts to predict that 2010 will be the best year ever for online sales.
However, interestingly, the rate of growth in the online sector has slowed; in 2008 the sector grew by 58% from 2007 while in 2009 that rate of growth has been recorded at just fewer than 40%. This may signal that the market is becoming saturated.
Mike Holmes, research director at the IAB comment; “The growth of the online retail sector has, without a doubt, been one of the most important changes of consumer behaviour in history. It is the only sector that has continued to grow during the credit crunch and while the pace of this growth may have slowed, e-commerce is still ahead of the high street in terms of revenue.”
“The growth of the sector in 2009 can be attributed to a number of factors, namely the planned VAT hike post-December and the increasing presence of voucher and discount sites online in a context where price is a massive contributing factor to any consumer purchase.”