Cross-channel retail sales in Europe — purchases that consumers begin using a digital channel but do not complete online — will reach €704 billion by 2020, up from €457 billion this year, according to a new Forrester forecast. Combined with online sales, these cross-channel sales are expected to reach €947 billion, which means 53% of total European retail sales over the next five years will be web-impacted.

Northern European countries will see more of their total retail sales impacted by the Web compared with southern European markets, while the UK will have the largest proportion of web-impacted sales by 2020.

Other findings from the forecast, which is based on a recent Forrester survey of more than 13,000 consumers across seven EU countries, include:

  • Smartphones bolster the figures. Online traffic from mobile devices is reaching the 50% tipping point for retailers in Europe, particularly in the UK. In-store, web-connected kiosks and tablet-enabled store assistants are also encouraging web-influenced research in-store before a purchase.
  • Twenty-one percent of European online adults regularly research products online, even though 26% do not regularly buy online. Online research sources have surpassed magazines, TV, and even physical stores for product discovery.
  • By 2020, five key categories will have more than half of total sales coming from cross-channel sales: garden and home improvement, beauty and cosmetics, jewelry and watches, footwear, and clothing.

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