Published: 24th Sep 2014
Barclays is the latest organisation to predict a mass increase in the number of Britons using their broadband connections to shop online.
It has forecast the number of shopping deliveries carried out in the UK will rise 29 per cent over the next four years, with internet purchases the driving force behind this growth.
Barclays said that last year online shopping generated one billion deliveries. It expects this figure to have reached 1.35 billion by 2018.
Clothing and footwear is predicted to be the sector that accounts for the most deliveries, with a total of 256 million forecast for 2018. This would represent an increase of 51 per cent on the figure recorded last year.
The greatest growth is set to take place in the electricals sector, with deliveries of these products expected to be up by 61 per cent. Other significant risers will be music and film products (54 per cent), and health and beauty items (48 per cent).
Barclays also said it expects the number of people downloading music and films to fall by 39 per cent over the next four years, with the increased popularity of subscription-based services like Netflix and Spotify the main reason behind this.
Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at the organisation, stated: "Not only is the online purchasing and delivery market growing, it is also having to evolve quicker and more radically than previously.
"Driven by the increasing use of tablet and mobile devices, almost seven in ten consumers say they are looking for more innovative and rapid delivery options such as Sunday delivery."
He added that as the popularity of online sales continues to grow, it is important for retailers to increase investment in their delivery capabilities in order to meet customer demand.
East Anglia is expected to be the region that sees the biggest increase in deliveries, with a 35 per cent rise predicted. Yorkshire and Humber, the south west, Wales and Scotland are all forecast to see growth of 30 per cent or more.
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