LONDON Online retail sales in Europe are set to rise 18 percent to more than 200 billion euros ($271 billion) this year, outpacing growth at traditional shops as well as internet sales in the United States.
The Center for Retail Research, in a study commissioned by online shopping comparison website Kelkoo, said on Monday it expected 6.9 percent of all European retail spending to be online in 2011, up from 5.9 percent last year.
An 18 percent rise in internet sales to 202.9 billion euros compares with a forecast increase of 2.5 percent in total retail sales and projected growth of 10.9 percent to $192 billion in U.S. online sales.
"The European online market has been growing faster than its counterpart in the U.S. for the past three years and this trend is set to continue into 2011," the study said.
Last year, online retail sales climbed 19.4 percent to 171.9 billion euros in Europe and 11.4 percent to $173 billion in the United States, it said.
The European figures are based on data and projections from 11 countries.
Britain will remain Europe's largest online retail market this year with sales of 59.4 billion euros, followed by Germany on 45.1 billion and France on 38.7 billion, the study forecast.
It tipped Poland to achieve the fastest growth rate of 33 percent, ahead of France on 24 percent and Sweden and Norway both on 22 percent.
Last Friday, Capgemini and consultants IMRG forecast an 18 percent rise to 69 billion pounds ($110 billion) in online sales in Britain this year.
(Reporting by Mark Potter; editing by David Hulmes)