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Although only a fraction of total online sales in the United States, online purchasing in Germany is jumping nearly as quickly.
According to a German marketing research group, GfK, German consumers in the first half of 2006 spent Euro 7.2 billion (USD $9.1 billion) for goods and services, up 16 percent from the same period a year earlier. That puts the country on track for at least Euro 15 billion (USD $19 billion) for the 2006 year, reported GfK.
For comparison, Germans in 2005 spent Euro 6.2 billion (USD $7.87 billion) in the first half of the year and nearly Euro 13 billion (USD $16.5 billion) for the year. In the United States, online spending by consumers in the first half of 2006 totaled $80.8 billion, representing a 20.1 percent increase over the same period a year ago.
GfK noted that the growth is due to more and more online shoppers, a number that has grown steadily over the years. For example, in the first half of this year, 600,000 people went online for the first time, the group reported, with 21.1 million reporting doing online shopping. The average bill per shopper in the first half of this year grew Euro 39 (USD $49.50) to reach Euro 343 (USD $435) compared to the same period a year ago.
Despite the growth, economists are still eyeing the country cautiously, wondering when German consumers will begin to spend more freely. So far, business confidence remains high although consumers are still wary.