Net users in Europe will spend a projected ¿51 billion ($71 billion US dollars) online during the Christmas season this year, according to Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). For the full year 2007, Forrester projects European online retail to grow 58 percent year-over-year. Forrester¿s holiday forecast covers 17 Western European countries and 22 retail categories, and draws upon its European Consumer Technographics® survey as well as data from the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) for the UK.

¿The significant growth in online retail is due in part to increasing consumer confidence and familiarity with the Web,¿ said Forrester Research Senior Analyst Victoria Bracewell Lewis. ¿58 percent of European online consumers will make a web purchase this year.¿

Among the findings of this year’s survey:

  • Consumers in the UK, Sweden, and Germany shop online far above the European average, with around 70 percent of Net users shopping online in those three countries. In Italy and Spain, the percentage of consumers making an online purchase is closer to 30 percent.
  • The largest online retail market is the UK with 27 million online shoppers expected to spend more than ¿700 each during the holiday shopping season ¿ accounting for a record-breaking ¿20 billion in online sales. Germany¿s online shopping spend has grown to ¿12 billion, followed by ¿6.5 billion in France, Italy with ¿2.1 billion, and the Netherlands with ¿1.9 billion.
  • The top three categories this year are leisure travel, clothing, and consumer electronics, which will account for over half of the Christmas season¿s online spend

“Online retailers have reason to celebrate during this Christmas season,¿ said IMRG Chief Executive Officer James Roper. ¿The significant growth forecast from Forrester can be attributed to many factors, the most significant being the easy access to broadband that the majority of people now enjoy, and the extensive range of goods available via the internet, thanks to major investment in the channel by merchants during the past year.”

Forrester¿s European forecast is based on online sales from October through December. However, 39 percent of annual online sales take place during the last two months of the year.

The report ¿Europe¿s 2007 Christmas: An Online Retail Wonderland,¿ is available to Forrester RoleView clients and can also be purchased directly at:,7211,43819,00.html.