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Online sales channel on the up and up: GfK

Market research organisation analyses online retail trends in Europe and its implications on the Australian market

Australian online sales are expected to continue growing, according to the GfK Group.

The market research organisation looked at the latest trends emerging from the European online market to predict what the future of online tech retailing will entail.

The online channel has been found to be continually growing, with the proportion of European consumer online spending growing from 6.3 per cent of total Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) value in 2006 to 13.6 per cent in 2010.

This trend has shown no signs of slowing down, with the growth of online spending reaching 14.9 per cent of total TCG value at the beginning of the year, and GfK foreseeing that online sales will account for approximately 15.5 per cent of consumer spending on TCG by the end of the year.

"At the current rate of growth, we can expect the proportion of sales to increase to approximately 17 per cent of total European TCG by the end of 2012," GfK account director, Chris Peczalski, said.

IT and photo sectors have been found to lead the way in European online sales, with almost 23 per cent of European consumer spending on IT products in the first half of 2011 to be online, followed by the photo sector at 20 per cent.

Another noteworthy finding in the research was that the average value of products sold online is higher.

"Whilst the online channel is undoubtedly a discount channel, the products sold through it tend to be of a higher-specification and higher value to begin with," Peczalski said.

"In simple terms, this trend says to online retailers that it's crucial their product mix is right for the channel."

The research from Europe comes on the announcement that GfK will be launching its Australian online retail panel in July 2012 to provide further insight into the Australian technical consumer goods market, with the results of a one-off special report on consumer trends in online shopping at Christmas to be released in early 2012.

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