A new report from Scottish Enterprise on the growth of e-commerce in the country has been hailed as a major development for the industry.
Carried out by economic consultancy SQW, the study indicated that e-commerce will be worth up to £31 billion to the Scottish economy and support approximately 200,000 jobs this year.
Online retail activity, which includes companies that send purchased goods via parcel delivery services, is expected to total £10 billion in direct gross value added to the Scottish economy.
The survey was described by Peter Mowforth of Scottish e-commerce agency Indez as a "landmark, no-nonsense report".
Speaking to the Herald, he pointed out that e-commerce now employs roughly double the number of people currently working in Scotland's oil and gas industry.
Mr Mowforth told the newspaper: "Not only is [e-commerce] huge, it's growing in Scotland at around 11 per cent - that's a lot faster than the growth rate of China and it's happening during a recession."
However, the expert also noted that the development of online retail businesses in Scotland is currently lagging behind other areas of the UK.
As a whole, Britain is the global leader in e-commerce, with a higher proportion of internet retail transactions than any other major economy.
Scottish Enterprise cited a study from the Boston Consulting Group which indicated that the UK's online economy will expand at a rate of 11 per cent a year for the next four years.
In light of the report, Scottish Enterprise said that it intends to "increase focus on the e-commerce opportunity for Scotland and in particular, to focus on international e-commerce awareness, advice and support".
Consumers in the UK now make just under a third (32 per cent) of all purchases on the internet, according to recent research published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe.
Author: Paul Burn