British online retailers are could earn upwards of an additional £1bn if they sold advertising space on their own websites.

In the Creating Value from Every Visit report by OC&C Strategy Consultants, the firm said that the practice is well established in the US, where eight of the top 10 retailers use display advertising, featured products and sponsored links to advertise goods and services on their sites. In the UK, only two of the top-10 retailers currently sell media space to third parties on their websites.

Over the past year, digital media revenues from selling search, display and trade advertising amounted to less than £150m for UK retail websites. By comparison, news websites made approximately £400m, despite receiving less than half the number of page views.

Anita Balchandani, partner at OC&C, said British retailers are “behind the curve in monetising shoppers as well as browsers” on their websites, while the OC&C research found that only 3% of consumers referenced having no sponsored links as an important purchasing factor.

Balchandani said: “Digital advertising is a huge untapped source of revenues for etailers. This is a natural continuation of practices, such as supplier funding, that are common in bricks and mortar retail, as well as mechanisms such as product recommendations that are commonly deployed online.”