Britons are the biggest online spenders in Europe, making nearly a third of all internet purchases across the continent during 2009, a report showed today.
Consumers in the UK collectively spent an estimated £38 billion online last year, accounting for 30% of total European internet sales, according to price comparison site Kelkoo.
Despite the recession, online sales grew by 12% in the UK during 2009, with purchases made over the internet making up 9.5% of all retail sales here.
The report, which was carried out by the Centre for Retail Research, predicts the UK online market will continue to expand during 2010, growing by 12.4% to £42.7bn.
But this growth will be dwarfed by the 19.6% jump the group is expecting across Europe as a whole during the coming year, pushing the total value of sales up to £152.8bn.
The UK is currently the single biggest online market, followed by Germany and France, with these three countries collectively accounting for 70% of internet sales in Europe.
At the other end of the scale, Poland has the smallest market with sales of only £2.2bn, with Finland and Norway having only slightly bigger markets at £2.3bn and £2.9bn respectively.
Across Europe as a whole, internet sales accounted for 4.7% of all retail sales, and this figure is expected to increase to 5.5% in 2010.
UK consumers also had the highest average individual online spend during 2009 at £1,102, followed by Denmark at £1,079 and Norway at £979.
Bruce Fair, managing director of Kelkoo UK, said: “While the retail industry is showing slow signs of recovery, the online shopping sector bucked the trend in 2009 delivering double-digit growth, and is expected to continue to perform strongly in 2010.”