London, 28th February 2011 – Online retailing emerged as the big winner over the Christmas period of 2010 as many European markets saw shoppers increase their spending via the internet, bolstering retail sales growth in Europe, according to the latest analysis by CB Richard Ellis (CBRE). Lower prices, better delivery options and growth in the number of retailers providing a transactional capability all contributed towards the significant increases in online sales, according to CBRE.

Online retail sales have grown much faster than total retail sales across several European markets. The Netherlands saw the highest growth in festive online retail sales, increasing by 40% year-on-year throughout November and December 2010, followed by the UK where online retail sales grew by 25% year-on-year in December 2010, and then France with 24% growth year-on-year in December.

Peter Gold, Head of Cross Border Retail - EMEA, commented: "The huge increase in online sales reflects a continuing and fundamental shift in shopping patterns as more and more shoppers buy online to take advantage of better prices and convenience.

“There are still significant opportunities for international retailers to increase their internet sales across Europe, particularly in the emerging online markets of the CEE region. Retailers are recognising the importance of a strong online presence to support their overall growth strategy. Many retailers have embraced online shopping and now view it as a key to optimise their turnover potential.”

Although the more ‘mature’ markets of western and northern Europe registered the highest level of online sales in 2010 and there is currently a clear north/south and east/west split in online uptake, shopping patterns in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are changing and the growing impact of online retailing is evident. After posting leading growth in overall retail sales in Europe over the Christmas period and with local retailers considering an online platform a ‘must have’ option, Poland is tipped to be the fastest growing online market in 2011.

While there are no official statistics regarding online retailing in Ireland, research conducted by CB Richard Ellis to measure the online capability of just over 300 international retailers in a range of global markets reveals that the majority of major online retailers do ship to Ireland. This aspect of the retail trade is likely to play an increasing role in Irish retail given the significant reductions in disposable income experienced by many Irish consumers in recent years. Retailers are likely to see a more significant proportion of their total revenues generated online from 2011 onwards as retailers increasingly move to multi-channel selling.

Overall, 2010 Christmas retail sales across Europe remained flat as shoppers became increasingly cautious with their money as a result of austerity measures which took effect in many countries, severe weather conditions and the prospect of higher sales taxes and rising prices in some markets. This was certainly true in Ireland, where the volume of retail sales (excluding motors) fell by 3.6% in December 2010 compared to the same month in the previous year. However, retail spending grew throughout the second half of 2010 in the CEE region and Russia. Poland in particular, saw retail sales rise by a huge 12% year-on-year in December 2010. Hungary followed closely behind with retail sales over the Christmas period expected to be ahead by 5% compared to the same period in 2009. This upturn in consumer spending could be attributed to the introduction of a 16% flat rate income tax in Hungary, introduced in January 2011. The Nordics region, in particular Sweden, saw retail sales grow by 3.4% during December, with all retail sectors performing well.


About CB Richard Ellis
CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm (in terms of 2010 revenue). The Company has approximately 31,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 300 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CB Richard Ellis offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.

1. Source Eurostat
2. Centre of Retail Research, Nottingham

CBRE Viewpoint_EU Retail Sales_Feb 2011
CBRE Viewpoint_EU Retail Sales_Feb 2011