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CONSUMER E-SPEND WILL 'TRIPLE IN THREE YEARS'

News, 01 February 2000

CONSUMER SPENDING in Britain and France via the internet will more than triple the net's share of their respective retail markets by 2003, according to a report by multinational beancounters Ernst & Young. Based on data from 300 respondents in the UK, France, Italy, Australia, Canada and the US, the study ob-serves: 'As competition for customers intensifies, an intriguing battle is brewing. The fundamental question is: will online shoppers prefer an extension of the local chain or a US-based global brand?' Despite the need for established 'local' retailers to reduce their prices, E&Y believes they will prove 'formidable' online opponents because of brand recognition, established supply chains and expertise in local markets. In the UK, market share is predicted to reach around 24% of all retail sales within three years.

[Growth forecasts by interested parties should be taken with a fistful of salt. Back in 1995, Andersen Con-sulting, another beancounter with megabucks to gain by talking-up the market, predicted that the UK high street would lose 20% of its trade to the internet by 2000 [Debrief, 3-70]. According to the E&Y study, the actual figure is just 7%!]