Britain takes internet lead, one click at a time

Britain has the most developed online retail market in the world, according to a study.

Consumers’ growing taste for buying goods on the internet, coupled with an advanced infrastructure, put the British market ahead of those in the United States, Germany and France, according to Cushman & Wakefield, the property company.

Only Norway and Finland have higher internet retail spending per head of population than Britian, where consumers spend an average of £571 each a year. That compares with £390 per head in the US, which is the world’s largest online retail market in absolute terms, ahead of China.

The findings help to explain the success of companies such as Asos, the online retailer that now generates about 60 per cent of its revenue from overseas markets.

Tesco is introducing online shopping and click-and-collect — where shoppers buy online and collect their goods in a store — to its international markets. Last week it introduced its online service to China. Asos is set to enter the Chinese market this year.

John Strachan, Cushman & Wakefield’s global head of retail, said: “The internet has changed the global retail landscape beyond recognition and is now transforming and impacting significantly upon the way we work, play and shop.

“Retailers and owners who can adapt quickly to this new world will not only grow sales across all channels but also will continue to enhance the role of their ‘bricks and mortar’ alongside successful digital platforms.”

The findings were based on the size and performance of the online market as well as a series of measures of “infrastructure”, including logistics, internet penetration and mobile phone usage.