Declining prices of internet connectivity and growing confidence in online retail stores have sent online sales figures soaring over the past few years. Each year, online sales trends hit a new high. This can only mean one thing – shopping over the worldwide web is here to stay.

According to the US Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, online retail sales accounted for 1.9 percent of the total retail sales in the fourth quarter of 2003, representing more than $17.2 billion in revenues. By the fourth quarter of 2004, online retail sales accounted for 26% of total retail sales. The graph doesn't plateau here. Forrester Research noted that online Christmas shopping alone accounted for $13.8 billion in revenues in 2006. Globally, online retail generated revenues of $747.6 billion for the year 2006, representing 14.8 percent growth over the previous year and 23.1 percent of the total retail sales for the year.

It has long been a belief that consumers prefer to actually see or experience a product before making a major purchase. But with the growing availability of comparison shopping sites or sites that host product reviews, consumers are leaning more and more towards online research to ensure that they get the right product for the best possible price. In fact, a survey conducted by Pricegrabbers.com in March 2008 shows that 81% of the respondents used the internet as their primary source of research for both products and retailers when it came to shopping for home furniture and appliances. In fact, there was a significant rise in the confidence level of consumers while making large purchases online as compared to a similar survey conducted in 2006.

Of course, the comfort levels for shopping online has been boosted by the deals offered by retailers, including good after-sales service and offers on home delivery of products. Confidence in online shopping has been further boosted by major companies that have now launched online versions of their brick and mortar stores, where people can access the same quality and pricing without the headache of driving all the way to the store and fighting through the masses shopping for similar stuff.

If you still need proof that the world is moving towards online retail in a big way, consider this:

The UK Office for National Statistics predicts that online shopping in the nation is likely to witness an ongoing upward trend, accounting for £162 billion in revenues by 2020 and representing 40% of total retail sales.

In short, the online shopping train has taken off and there is no stopping it now. If you want to get on board, feel free to give us a call on 0845 0574320