* Online sales to grow to 188 bln euros in 2013
* Germany, Britain and France to remain biggest online
* Amazon seen doubling market share in 3-4 years
* Amazon well advised to launch Nordics sites-Mintel
BERLIN, Aug 15 Online retail sales in Europe are
seen doubling by 2018 to 323 billion euros ($428.51 billion)
with Amazon.com Inc expected to grow even faster than
that, market research firm Mintel said.
In a survey of 19 markets in Europe made exclusively
available to Reuters, Mintel predicted that online sales would
grow to 188 billion euros in 2013 from 166 billion in 2012.
Mintel said Germany, Britain and France would remain by far
the biggest markets for online retail by 2018, although the
Netherlands, Spain and Poland should grow at a faster rate and
Norway and Sweden have the highest online per-capita spend.
"There is a big North-South divide in e-commerce in Europe,"
said Mintel European retail analyst John Mercer, noting French
participation levels lag Britain and Germany by five years and
Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy are even further behind.
Mintel said Amazon is extending its lead on the continent,
growing market share to 9.8 percent in 2012 from 9.2 percent in
2011, while Germany's Otto, its next closest rival, saw its
share slip to 3.3 percent from 3.9 percent.
Mintel predicted Amazon could double its Europe-wide market
share in the next three to four years despite negative publicity
in Britain over its low tax bills and in Germany prompted by
strikes at its distribution centres.
Mercer said Amazon was performing strongly despite having
only five dedicated country websites in Europe - in Britain,
Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
"Italy is a tiny market. Perhaps it would be more worthwhile
to have launched dedicated sites for the Nordics," he said.
"In terms of spend per capita, the Nordics are much higher."
Mintel said it would still be 2021 before Amazon overtook
Germany's Schwarz group, owner of Lidl discount stores, as
Europe's biggest retailer, assuming current trends continue.
Amazon last month forecast disappointing income and revenue
as it grapples with a weaker international market, overshadowing
improving profitability and economic conditions in the United
British grocers are also well represented in Mintel's
European top 10, with Tesco holding its market share
steady at 2.3 percent and Walmart-owned Asda and
Sainsbury on 1.1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively,
reflecting the popularity of online grocery shopping in Britain.
"In mainland Europe, online shopping is largely
non-grocery," Mercer said. "That is not going to change fast."
The Mintel report said Britain and France have the strongest
demand for buying online and collecting in-store, a trend yet to
take off for Germans, who prefer their goods to be delivered.