The popularity of online shopping in Europe is continuing to grow, opening up opportunities for those marketing their products on the web.

According to a new report by European Union (EU) consumer commissioner Meglena Kuneva, the proportion of EU consumers buying a least one item over the internet rose from 27 per cent to 33 per cent between 2006 and 2008.

In countries such as the UK, France and Germany, the figures are much higher, with more than 50 per cent of consumers making online purchases in the last year.

Commissioner Kuneva said the internet allows customers to shop in a vastly expanded market, giving them more choice and allowing them to compare a greater number of products and suppliers.

"Internet use for retail shopping is destined to become pervasive," she remarked.

However, the report also points out that cross border purchasing activity remains relatively low, with linguistic differences, practical difficulties and regulation named as some of the major barriers, as well as issues of trust.

Companies investing in cross border internet marketing campaigns may therefore wish to take these issues into account when designing their ads.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index show that in the UK, online sales were up by 19 per cent in March compared to the same month last year.

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