Brits spending billions in Internet shopping, says survey

Britons are Europe's biggest Internet shoppers, spending 9.79 billion euros ($12.24 billion) online last year, an AFP report said.

The report, quoting research published by market analyst Mintel, said the sector had enjoyed a phenomenal growth of 51% since 2004.

Europe, as a whole, spent 40.2 billion euros ($50.7 billion) online. However, Internet spending still made up only 2% of total European retail sales, the Mintel report said.

Germany, last year's leader, came second behind Britain, the report said.

The continent's e-retail market is set to grow by a further 186% between 2005 and 2010, according to the market analyst.

High street stores were expected to counter the surge in Internet spending by making the shopping experience more rewarding and enjoyable, the report added.

E-commerce would likely increase its share of total European retail sales from 2% to 5% by 2010, Mintel predicted.

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