Payment service Computop, which handles over 5bn of transactions for clients across telephone, online and mobile, has analysed e-commerce purchasing patterns across its global network.

For the final week in November the company’s UK retail customers experienced no growth in turnover online, while European counterparts saw a 15% increase and those in the US enjoyed a substantial 22% growth in sales.

Computop analysed the number of orders, as well as basket values and turnovers, of 1,600 international online retailers, travel and gaming portals using its Paygate platform – which handles payments when customers are not present. The company then compared this to the same sample for the same period in 2010.

The analysis shows a 9% increase in basket values for those in the UK, but a 7% drop in the number of orders offsets this.

Though the number of orders in GBP grew by 15% from October to November 2011, basket values dropped by 16%, resulting in a 7% decrease in overall turnover.

Ralf Gladis, CEO of Computop, noted that these statistics suggest that 2011 could be the first year that retailers in the UK might not experience a significant growth in online sales since shopping online became mainstream in the mid 1990s.

However, this does just seem to be a local issue for the UK market. European consumers added 6% more to their online baskets than they did last year, which combined with an increase of 9% in order numbers, delivered overall growth in sales of 15%. 

US consumers spent 22% more money online, while basket values increased by 26% in the run up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Gladis said that there are many steps that can be taken to counteract this flatline effect in the UK, most importantly optimising shop usability and offering more payment methods.

In addition to this, UK retailers may want to look to expand their customer base into international markets. Thanks to the European Union there are almost no legal barriers to entering the Eurozone market. There is no need to establish a legal entity immediately and depending on the choice of payment methods you allow, it might not even be necessary to open a local bank account.”