Retail websites now reach 75% of the European internet audience each month, with the UK leading the way, according to new research.
comScore has released results from a study of online shopping in Europe, showing that In January 2011, 270.6 million unique visitors in Europe visited sites in the Retail category.
This represents a market penetration of 74.5 percent of Internet users, up 8.5 percentage points versus last year.
Retail sites also showed high penetration in individual markets, reaching at least 75 percent of the total online audience in 7 out of 18 European markets. In 2010, approximately one out of every ten Internet sessions in Europe included a visit to a retail site.
Retail Penetration and Engagement Growth in Europe
In the United Kingdom, the Retail category reached 89.4 percent of the total online audience (up 6.3 points from last year), the highest penetration of any European market. France ranked second with a reach of 87 percent (up 10.5 points), followed by Germany at 82.1 percent (up 9.0 points). Ireland and the Netherlands round out the list of markets with highest penetration, with Retail reaching 80.7 percent in Ireland (up 15.8 percentage points) and 80.2 percent in the Netherlands (up 4.9 percentage points).
Ireland and Russia experienced the highest growth in Retail penetration in Europe, with both markets posting gains of 15.8 percentage points. With 40.6 million visitors coming to retail sites in January, Germany remains the largest European market for this category, followed by France and the U.K. with 36.6 million visitors and 34.6 million visitors, respectively.
In January 2011, visitors from the U.K. led in engagement with the Retail category, with an average of 84.1 minutes spent on retail sites. France followed closely with an average of 83.2 minutes, with Turkish visitors coming in next at 73.0 minutes. Across the board, Europeans spent a collective average of 52.4 minutes, or a little under an hour per visitor, on retail sites in January.
Top Retail Categories in Europe
Within the Retail category, the subcategory with the highest market penetration was Comparison Shopping, which reached 31.6 percent of the European market in January 2011, buoyed by Bing Ciao and Shopzilla Sites.
Apparel ranked second with a 28.4-percent reach, followed by Consumer Electronics with a 27.1-percent reach.
Ranking the subcategories by engagement, Apparel sites ranked first, with European shoppers spending an average of 23.3 minutes on these sites in January.
Apparel sites also had the highest percentage of page views within the Retail category, accounting for 21.6 percent of Retail pages viewed that month.
Top Retail Properties in the Markets with the Highest Retail Reach
A snapshot of the five markets with the highest Retail category reach shows regionally-based and international retailers accounting for a significant portion of retail traffic.
The British Home Retail Group, French luxury retailer Groupe PPR, German catalogue company Otto Gruppe, and Dutch media retailer Bol.com appeared in the list of top Retail category properties in these markets alongside Amazon Sites and Apple Sites.
A few top properties experienced significant growth in visitation over the past year across different markets. The Home Retail Group grew 10 percent in the U.K. and 52 percent in Ireland. Amazon Sites, which appears as a top retailer in all five markets, grew by 10 percent in France.
In the Netherlands, Bol.com grew 10 percent and maintained its hold on the market as the most visited Retail property. However, the highest rate of growth in the Dutch market came from supermarket retailer AH.nl (Albert Heijn), which grew by 41 percent.