The amount spent by European consumers shopping online is expected to reach US$259m (166m) in 1998, more than tripling the predicted total for this year of $75m (48m), according to a report published last week by Datamonitor.
The value of online shopping is expected to triple again to $762m (488m) in 1999, before reaching $3.3bn (2.1bn) in the year 2001, according to the report’s author, Christian Buerger.
But Buerger insists Datamonitor’s predictions actually paint a modest picture of the prospects for growth in online shopping.
“The market will be fairly limited, and only a small percentage of the UK population will have access to it in the coming years,” says Buerger. “We are more conservative in our projections than many. Demand for the sorts of goods bought online will be limited by consumers who want to buy a product, but who also want to see it and touch it before they buy.”