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1ST LEAD German online shopping hits record high By Andrew McCathie, dpa

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Online shopping is booming in Germany with sales by internet traders in Europe‘s biggest economy hitting a record high in the second quarter.

Total online sales rose about 12 per cent to 14 billion euros (16 billion dollars) in the three months to the end of June from 12.5 billion euros in the same period last year, the Berlin-based association for e-commerce and mail order trade (BEVH) said on Friday.

The digital economy is reshaping private consumer behaviour around the world, with stores closing on main streets after their sales slumped as shoppers stepped up their use of online traders.

This has raised questions about the future of suburban shopping malls and left estate agents and local zoning authorities in some cities struggling to find traders to fill the vacant stores with businesses requiring consumers to visit, such as nail shops.

German internet sales of furniture, lamps and home decoration goods were particularly strong, according to the BEVH, jumping by 32.4 per cent in the three months to the end of June.

In addition, sales of computers, computer accessories and computer games posted big gains, climbing by 29.7 per cent.

The BEVH figures also pointed to visits to the supermarket becoming a thing of the past for many German households.

Online grocery sales were up 28.9 per cent, totalling 272 million euros in the second quarter.

Electronic sales of tickets and hotel bookings also posted solid rises.

However, Friday‘s data also indicated that German consumers might be losing their interest in buying books online.

The internet business in books and e-books fell 7.2 per cent in the second quarter.

Historic low interest rates, meagre inflation, a buoyant jobs markets and higher wages have been encouraging German households to spend with private consumption emerging in recent years as a major driving force behind the nation‘s economic growth rate.

Total retail sales were 4.8-per-cent higher in May compared with the same month last year, which was outstripped by a 7.2-per-cent gain in online sales, the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) said last month.


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