Visa figures highlight online shopping boom

European e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2003 were more than double that of the same period last year according to new...

European e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2003 were more than double that of the same period last year, according to latest figures from credit card giant Visa.

During the three months to 31 March, European Visa cardholders spent more than €2.6bn (£1.85bn) on the internet, with more than 31 million transactions processed.

The travel and entertainment sector has been the key driver of the overall e-commerce growth across Europe. Despite the recent conflict in Iraq, the amount spent online on tourism, leisure and entertainment in the first months of 2003 was three times that of the same period in 2002. 

All of the major European markets experienced healthy growth in the first three months of the year, with online purchases by Visa cardholders up by 16% in the UK, 17% in Germany, 26% in Italy, 20% in France and 28% in Spain.

Despite its slower rates of growth the UK remained the strongest e-commerce market in Europe with total online sales in the first three months of the year amounting to more than €1.8bn (£1.3bn) – almost 40 times that of less developed online markets in Spain and France.

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