Online retail sales are predicted to reach £52.25bn in the UK this year, a 16.2% increase on 2014 when the total stood at £44.97bn.

This equates to 15.2% of all retail sales in the UK and means that on average UK consumers will spend £1,174 online in 2015, which would make us the most frequent online shoppers in Europe.

In comparison, the average German is predicted to spend £1,023 while in France the figure is £847.

The figures come from a study conducted by RetailMeNot and the Centre for Retail Research.

The data shows that ecommerce is driving the growth in consumer spending across Europe.

In-store sales are predicted to drop by 1.4% in 2015, but an 18.4% increase in online sales means that total retail revenues will increase by an average of 2%.

Germany is set to see the fastest increase in sales in Europe, with online spending forecast to reach £44.61bn this year.

Meanwhile Sweden has the slowest growing ecommerce market in Europe, but that is due to the fact that it is the most mature with 69.8% of Swedes shopping online compared to 65.5% in the UK and a European average of 46.7%.

Christmas sales

The trend for increasing online sales and declining offline sales was also reflected in Christmas trading results from the UK’s major retailers.

Though Tesco reported a 0.3% drop in like-for-like sales, online grocery sales increased by 12.9% in the six weeks to January 3.

Similarly, online clothing sales grew by 52.4% and sales of general merchandise were up 22.2%.

Elsewhere:

  • At House of Fraser online sales rose by 31.2% over the six weeks to January 3.
  • Debenhams saw a 28.9% increase in Christmas sales.
  • Despite a fall in sales at its department stores over Christmas, John Lewis reported a 5.8% growth in revenue in the five weeks to December 27 thanks to a 19% increase in online sales.

For more ecommerce data, download the Econsultancy Internet Statistics Compendium.

The study from RetailMeNot is based on data from government statistical sources and analysts, telephone interviews with 100 major retailers from all types of business (20%+ of national retail sales), and interviews with 1,000 consumers in each of the nine countries (9,000 in total).

Of course, the usual caveats about predictions apply, though this is an educated short-term estimate, rather than some of the guesswork that is involved in longer term forecasts. 

The study examines the sale of merchandise to the final consumer through stores and online on a like-with-like basis, excluding food services, the sale of automobiles, gas and fuel, tickets, holidays, insurance, and banking.