Online retailing has evolved in recent decades and now represents a significant and integral element of the retail market. The ‘internet effect’ has been manifested in diverse ways across different markets, with international responses to the growth of online shopping and the real estate consequences for the UK and US markets examined by Worzala et al (2002). With the benefit of hindsight, this paper seeks to revisit the conclusions drawn by Worzala and other researchers (Dixon & Marston, 2002; Ellis-Chadwick et al, 2002) at the beginning of the Twenty-First Century, assessing their relevance and application to the online retail markets which have emerged in the last decade in Australia & the UK. The research addresses the lacuna of research regarding the real estate outcomes for the retail market as a consequence of developments in online shopping (2004-2014). 

The retail industry in Australia (2010-11) accounted for 4.5% of GDP, employing 10.9% of the working population (ABS, 2012). Retailing is similarly highly significant in the UK and employs approximately 3 million people, more than 10% of the workforce (BRC, 2012). In 2012 the retail sector contributed £151bn (16%) to the UK’s economic output (ONS, 2014). Although retailing plays a key role in the developed economies of Australia and the UK, when it comes to the evolution of online retailing they are structurally very different industries. In terms of internet retailing, the UK has the greatest proportion of sales globally, with 11.5% of retail sales in November 2014 made online (ONS, 2014). By November 2014 in Australia, online sales for the preceding year were equivalent to 6.8% of the total spent in traditional retailers (NAB, 2014). Cushman & Wakefield rank the UK as the most developed online market globally, followed by the USA, Germany and France. Australia is ranked 14th (Cushman & Wakefield, 2013). This paper considers the evolution of internet retailing in the UK & Australia markets, considering the characteristics of the retail markets themselves, the central differences in the evolution of online shopping within them, strategic shifts in retailing patterns towards multi-channel interfaces, and the resulting consequences for the retail real estate market so far. It is a qualitative assessment of the ‘internet effect’ in prime Australian and UK markets, combining secondary data with interview responses from leading retailers.