According to Forrester Research, Europe will outpace the US in online holiday sales this year. It estimates that eCommerce during the holiday season in Western Europe will increase by 44% over last year, bringing in ¿13 billion compared with ¿10 billion ($13 billion) in the US. According to Forrester, this growth will be driven by more affluent online shoppers, an eCommerce push by traditional retailers, and the aggressive promotion of online stores.

Commenting on the expected distribution of the predicted online holiday sales across countries and industries, Hellen Omwando, Consumer Markets Analyst at Forrester Research says: “The UK will continue to lead the charge in online holiday sales, but Germany and Southern European countries will steal some of its share. Leisure travel will remain the largest money-spinner, followed closely by apparel.”

The forecast, which is outlined in Forrester¿s report “Europe’s Online Holiday Sales: Merrier Than Ever,” out today, further highlights that:

  • The number of online European shoppers has grown across all age groups. eCommerce laggards like France and Spain have grown the most; the newcomers are mostly affluent consumers.
  • Many European retailers have seen their offline sales decline in the face of hard discount retailers like Aldi and Lidl.
  • In the UK, the Internet has become a key battleground for retails sales, with major retailers like Tesco and Sainsbury¿s starting to promote Christmas stock-ups as early as September.
  • Last year, the UK contributed 36% of total online holiday sales in Europe. This year, with the highest penetration of online shoppers in Europe, the UK will generate ¿4.2 billion (£3 billion) in online holiday sales — a third of all online sales in Europe.
  • With traditional retailers investing more in eCommerce, Germany will generate €3.8 billion in online holiday sales — increasing its share of European online sales to 29%, up from 27% last year.
  • France will increase online holiday sales to ¿1.1 billion, a 9% share, and Spain will double its share compared with last year, to 4%.
  • In the Netherlands online holiday sales is set to reach ¿584 million.
  • As the largest revenue generator in online retail, travel will still bring in the most online holiday sales, with 21% of the total till. Apparel, with 17% of total online holiday sales, will take second place.

Omwando concludes: “The increase in apparel sales reflects the ongoing migration from mail order to the Web: Clothing typically yields the highest revenues for large catalog retailers like La Redoute, and online clothing sales will continue to grow as these retailers step up the process of converting their catalog buyers to Web buyers.”