High Street Retailers Winning Online-Shopping Battle

August 8, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Europe & Middle East | Retail & E-Commerce

The internet properties of the 100 largest online high street retailers in the UK, such as Argos, Next, and Marks and Spencer, received 19.3% more UK internet visits during July than the 100 largest online-only retailers, such as Amazon, Play.com and ASOS.

High street retailers have again ahead of their online-only counterparts, according to a new Hitwise report, “Can Retailers Have a Happy Christmas during the Credit Crunch?”

The top 100 high street retailers online accounted for 1.85% of all UK internet visits in July 2008, equivalent to 1 in every 5 visits to an online-shopping website.


“High street retailers overtook their online only counterparts for the first time during December 2006, but quickly fell behind again for most of 2007,” said Robin Goad, research director for Hitwise UK. “However, when the high street overtook again last Christmas, the gap was even greater than before and during 2008 the online-only retailers only managed to edge ahead during February.”

“Given the 2.6% year-on-year decline in actual physical visits to retailers reported by Experian Footfall for July, it looks like high street retailers will be more reliant than ever on their online operations this Christmas,” he added.

UK internet traffic to the online properties of high street retailers increased 18.7% from July 2007 to July 2008, compared with a drop of 10.2% for online-only retailers, according to Hitwise.

The top 5 online high street retailers in the UK during July 2008 were as follows:

  1. Argos – share of UK internet visits to Shopping and Classified websites: 1.69%
  2. Tesco.com – 1.27%
  3. Next – 0.90%
  4. Marks & Spencer -?0.74%
  5. John Lewis – 0.58%

Fashion Retailers Weathering Credit Crunch Online

Over the last 12 months, fashion has been the fastest-growing area of online retail in the UK. In July 2008, UK internet visits to Hitwise’s Apparel and Accessories category accounted for 1 in every 10 visits to online retail websites, with the sector having experienced an annual growth rate of 34.2% since July 2007.

Online fashion retail in the UK is dominated by the major high street brands, which accounted for seven of the top 10 websites in the category during June:


“The growth of the online fashion industry has been one of the main contributors to the increasing market share of high street retailers online,” Goad said.

“However, there are exceptions to the rule. ASOS was the second most-visited website in our Shopping and Classifieds – Apparel and Accessories category in July 2008. UK internet traffic to online-only fashion retailers has more than doubled over the last 12 months.”


In addition to major high street brands such as Next, Top Shop and River Island, the top 10 online fashion retailers in June also included two other remote-shopping specialists, M and M Direct and Boden.

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