Online sales of electricals and books to soar by 2020

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Online sales of electricals and books will overtake those on the high street within 10 years, a retail research firm has revealed.

Verdict Research also said that British shoppers will spend £1 in £5 online by 2020, compared with just £1 in £13 now, as online spend rockets by 223 per cent, or £46bn, over the next decade. It said that pressure on bricks-and-mortar retailers will "intensify" and that 2020 will mark the "tipping point" for booksellers and retailers of electricals, music and videos.

Neil Saunders, a consulting director at Verdict, said: "It is a phenomenal shake-up. It is a complete change in the way we buy things." The survey conducted for the internet auction giant eBay revealed that online retail expenditure on electricals – including those collected in stores – will grow to £10bn in 2020, compared to £9.2bn offline.

DSGi, the owner of Currys, the UK's biggest electricals retail chain, yesterday said that the internet currently accounts for up to 15 per cent of its total sales but expects this to grow robustly over the coming years.

Verdict's forecast will resonate with booksellers because the administrators to Borders UK, the 45-store retailer, cited book sales on the internet as a key factor in its collapse last month.

Mr Saunders said that retailers needed to refine their web offer to meet the requirements of customers, such as personalised recommendations, based on previous purchases, and better fulfilment of orders. He added that the survey had major implications for the retail and property industry. "You will need a lot fewer shops to sell products by 2020 because the economic model of retail is changing."