BERLIN Global e-commerce sales of packaged goods will hit $53 billion by 2016 to take 5.2 percent of total turnover, up from 3.7 percent now, as shoppers increasingly go online to buy items from breakfast cereals to cosmetics, a study showed.
The report published by market research firm Kantar Worldpanel on Monday predicted that online sales of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) excluding fresh produce would rise 47 percent by 2016 from a current $36 billion.
Kantar Worldpanel said South Korea would continue in its lead position for online FMCG sales, increasing e-commerce's share of the market to 13.8 percent by 2016 from 10.2 percent now, while growth would also be strong in Taiwan and China.
It expects France to surpass Europe's e-commerce trailblazer Britain due to the popularity of in-store collection facilities for goods ordered online, with online sales of packaged goods rising to 6.1 percent by 2016 from 3.9 percent now, growing more slowly in Britain to 5.5 percent from 4.9 percent.
Kantar Worldpanel said some retailers and brands were reticent about moving online due to misplaced fears that e-commerce will harm sales in physical stores or that consumers will be less loyal if they shop online.
"The future belongs to retailers and brands that see the bigger picture and leverage the opportunities provided to broaden their target markets," Stephane Roger, Kantar Worldpanel retail director, said in a statement.
"Being a slow adopter has the potential to significantly damage sales and erode market share."
Grocery sales have been slow to move online due to challenges around delivery and perishability, but the shift is accelerating, helped by a push by Amazon.com into food, prompting more store-based retailers to embrace e-commerce.
In the United States, Bernstein Research estimates that about one quarter of spending on consumer goods - some $222 billion a year - will be spent online.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson, editing by Louise Heavens)