The UK is trailing France, Germany and the Netherlands in terms of revenue achieved through ecommerce, according to a survey by IT services group CMG.
Its Ecom Index finds that only 15% of UK companies are recording more than 1% of revenue from ecommerce, while the average for Europe is 22%.
However, the UK insurance industry has fared better than other sectors and returned an average of 17%, up from 9% in the last index.
Insurance companies are less keen on the even newer ecommerce – so-called mcommerce through mobile phones – with only 40% of companies believing their customers will want to trade with them by mobile devices, compared with 70% in the banking sector.
Phil Race, ebusiness director at CMG, said: “The CMG Ecom Index does have some positive news for insurers, which is encouraging. But in our view there are four primary factors holding back the UK.
“First, the prohibitively high cost of telecoms in the UK. Second, a culture which is still risk averse and third, the fact that cybercrime is still a concern for many, as highlighted by some of the security scares we witnessed over the summer months.
“Finally, it's harder than ever to recruit people with the necessary competencies to bring all this together.”
Race said that dotcom start-ups were now regarded with more scepticism than they were when they initially arrived in the marketplace.
When asked what type of company would dominate ecommerce in the next two years, 63% of the 250 organisations polled said it would be an existing incumbent providing an ecommerce offering. Only 17% thought a new entrant would dominate the market.
Generally, the UK was found to be preparing well for ecommerce: 71% of companies interviewed had an ecommerce strategy and 20% now have a head of ecommerce. More than half of the companies could now track how online visitors moved round their site.