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News - 5 December 2009

Online shopping trends defy recession

IMRG predicts that "Cyber Monday" (7th December) will be the busiest online shopping day this year. It is apparently the optimum day for shoppers looking to beat the recession by bagging online bargains. The total estimated online spend on that day alone will be £350m.

Research carried out recently for the IMRG e-Customer Service Index by e-DigitalResearch, found that practically all Christmas shoppers were planning to buy some of their presents online this year, with nearly three quarters of them doing half or more of their total shopping online.

Research also indicates:

  • £350m will be spent online on Monday 7th December
  • 93% of consumers plan to shop online this Christmas
  • The spend for December 2009 will be £5bn

David Smith, Director of Operations, at IMRG stated, “IMRG members are gearing themselves for a very busy Christmas and along with the £350m spent online on Monday 7th December, for the month as a whole we expect sales to reach £5bn which will be an increase of 14% year on year. Online retail has consistently delivered double digit growth throughout 2009 as consumers switch to the convenience and price savings available on the internet.”

Brian McBride, Managing Director, of IMRG member said: “Last year, on Cyber Monday, we saw a record 1.4 million items ordered in 24 hours. In 2009, more people than ever will be ordering Christmas presents via the internet. Low prices and vast choice coupled with the ability to order from the home or office makes internet shopping a cost effective and highly convenient way to purchase Christmas gifts and here at Amazon, we expect this to be our biggest Christmas to date.”

Whilst Stuart Rowe, Chief Operating Officer, of, comments: “We are predicting that Monday 7th December is going to be our biggest sales day yet in the run up to Christmas Day. Top sellers look set to include new releases like Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2 (see earlier story), Take That - The Circus Live DVD and The Twilight series is selling phenomenally well across a number of categories. Christmas shopping has really kicked in now despite the economic climate, with shoppers buying lots of toys and clothing as well as loads of other gifts from us ahead of Christmas Day.”

According to IMRG member Google, online Christmas shopping started much earlier this year with consumers more focused than ever in researching and finding inspiration for their Christmas purchases, Christmas gift and related shopping terms like ‘Christmas gift ideas’ were up 26% year on year (in November). While searches for non material Christmas presents also rose this year, for example, the popularity of the term ‘spa breaks’ is over 30% higher than in November 2008” said Peter Fitzgerald, Industry Leader, Retail Google UK.

Highlighting this, spokesperson Mark Bower commented; “This Christmas we are seeing a massive increase in people being more adventurous and resourceful. Our gifts do not require postage, meaning that people can be confident that their products whether booked last minute on Christmas Eve or two weeks in advance will arrive on time".

Bruce Fair, Managing Director, of Kelkoo UK, commented: "Despite the recession, online spending as a whole continues to fare well. The internet can offer substantial savings over the high street, saving consumers 15% on average compared to the high street. Most retailers would fail to survive another poor Christmas performance, so a busy Christmas was top of Santa's wish list for everyone. The peak weeks of Christmas trading are vitally important, accounting for up to 60% of annual profits."

IMRG expects Christmas shopping to finish even later than last year as large retailers will be taking orders for Christmas delivery until the 23rd of December and according to Mark Higson, Royal Mail, Managing Director: “Royal Mail is prepared for its biggest online Christmas ever and has a range of initiatives, including evening and Sunday deliveries, to help people get their items as quickly as possible – even if they are not at home when we first try to deliver.

"We expect to deliver 155 million items ordered online in the run up to Christmas and the majority are delivered first time, but our measures will help people who are not home to receive a package in cases where it is too big to go through the letterbox or requires a signature.”

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McBride, Brian
Rose, Stuart
Smith, David

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