Companies in the UK and US is particular may wish to enhance their e-commerce offerings after the two nations came top in a recent study of countries witnessing the highest levels of growth.

The report by IMRG reveals the US is the world leader in terms of the rate at which business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce sales expanded in 2011, followed by the UK and Japan.

A trend for high levels of growth in the sector is expected to continue during the coming years and more than a trillion euros ($1.25 trillion) in sales are anticipated in 2013, a year earlier than previous forecasts from the body.

Customer analytics could provide businesses operating in growing e-commerce sectors with the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by enhancing the experience for users making purchases from their sites and increasing their decision-making capabilities.

According to the 'IMRG B2C Global e-Commerce Overview 2012', global B2C e-commerce sales reached €690 billion in 2011, with the Chinese market leaping by more than 130 per cent over the year and rapid expansion anticipated in developing nations such as Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, Turkey, Korea and Indonesia.

"Worldwide we are increasingly seeing trust and confidence in purchasing online growing and government and private initiatives brought in to support the development of the global digital economy," observed IMRG head of international Aad Weening.

Within two years the number of people online globally is predicted to jump from 2.2 billion at the end of last year to 3.5 billion by 2013, equating to around half the world's population.

Double-digit growth is still anticipated in mature markets such as the US and UK, while France is forecast to lead European expansion, Brazil will drive Latin American increases and Israel and the UAE will push up sales in the Middle East.

A recent survey of US consumers by Nielsen suggested that online purchasing was the favorite means of buying items overall with respondents, chosen by 59 per cent of those polled because of its ease and convenience.

With rapid growth anticipated and customers opting to shop online when possible, organizations may wish to invest in business analytics and optimization in order to handle the rising volumes of data being generated by such activities.