I recently visited London for a Retail Week conference where retail growth for the year was forecasted to be as little as 3% (or less). Such is not the case for online retail! Forrester predicts that online retail within the EU’s largest markets in Western Europe – the UK, Germany, and France – will grow at an 11% compound annual growth rate over the next five years, reaching €114 billion by 2014.

Forrester's Patti Freeman Evans

And huge opportunities are on the horizon. “While nearly half of UK residents regularly make a purchase online, a mere 10% of online Spaniards and 11 % of online Italians do so today,” said Forrester Research Vice President and Research Director Patti Freeman Evans . “Still, with compound annual growth rates approaching 20% in markets like Spain, emerging European ecommerce markets are poised for a vigorous period of growth.”

European consumers already rely on the internet for research. According to a March 2009 Forrester study, 45% of European consumers had researched a product online before buying it in a shop. The barriers to ecommerce in Europe are tumbling, and smart businesses are taking action now to capture their share in this booming online market. Forrester sees a 45% increase in Western European online marketing spend, reaching €13.9 billion 2014.

Where should this money be spent? Traditional advertising is ineffective on in increasingly social web – research from LinkShare in August 2009 showed that traditional social network ads fail to engage 96% of users. “Online users are information shoppers – they are looking for buyer reviews – so adverts need relay more information to cater for this need,” said Liane Dietrich, managing director of LinkShare.

In the past year alone, Bazaarvoice has opened offices in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Sydney, and Düsseldorf, in addition to our existing Paris, and Singapore offices and the brand-new relocation and expansion of our London international HQ

As this list grows, so does our London team. The larger space shares the distinct cultural feel of Bazaarvoice, while reflecting a distinctly European aesthetic.

If you’re in London and want to stop by the new office, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to host you!