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News - 22 December 2010

There is to be no let up in online shopping

Shopping is like a drug that we just can't seem to get enough of. And on Christmas Day when the high street shops are closed we will shop till we drop online.

IMRG estimates that around £153m could be spent on Christmas Day. This will be a record high as savvy shoppers look to grab early bargains from sales at online retail websites.

The fourth quarter of 2010 has seen impressive growth in online shopping, with an average year-on-year increase of 22.5% recorded for October and November.

The figure is backed up by analysis by payments company Visa Europe, who estimate that 960,000 transactions worth £36m will be made on Visa cards alone on Christmas Day. Visa transactions account for over £1 in every £4 spent.

In spite of the impact of the recent inclement weather conditions on deliveries, online will still perform well over the festive holiday as the value and convenience provided by the online shopping experience are expected to overturn any uncertainty felt by consumers in the run-up to Christmas. The VAT increase is also expected to generate a surge of activity for big-ticket purchases.

David Smith, Managing Director of IMRG, said, “Christmas Day has become a busy online shopping day in recent years, as people with an eye for value look to take advantage of the 24/7 nature of online retail. With many people not being able to get out to the high street sales due to the wide-ranging impact of the snow, online could see a real boost over the next few weeks.”

Dr Steve Perry, Commercial Director at Visa Europe, commented, “The lure of early Christmas sales this year will see record numbers of people heading online on Christmas Day to snap up bargains and we expect online purchases to make up half of all the Visa card transactions we will process on that day. The number of e-commerce transactions is growing by about 25% every year and there’s no denying the appeal of internet shopping for consumers, who are feeling increasingly confident, safe and web-savvy as they hunt for bargains online.”

Matthew Cheng, MD of, said, “According to a new survey, many UK online adults plan to browse or shop online, with 29% doing so during Boxing Week, 15% on Boxing Day, 10% on Christmas Eve and 8% on Christmas Day. Men more than women planned to shop online on Christmas Eve (12% vs 7%), Christmas Day (10% vs 6%) and Boxing Day (16% vs 15%). Only during Boxing Week did women outnumber men (30% vs 27%). During the Christmas period, consumers aged 18 to 35 planned to shop online the most. On Boxing Day, 28% of those aged 18 to 24 and 23% of those aged 25 to 34 planned to browse or shop online. During Boxing Week, 46% of those aged 18 to 24 and 40% of those aged 25 to 34 planned to browse or shop online. Meanwhile, 27% in Northern Ireland and 17% in London planned to browse or shop online on Boxing Day.

“Boxing Day online sales will get an additional boost because of the upcoming VAT increase. Three in ten UK online adults plan to make online purchases over the Christmas period and up to 4 January to avoid the VAT increase. By region, 44% in Northern Ireland, 38% in London, 36% in Wales intend to buy online ahead of 4 January.”

Mark Clark, Marketing Director for free fundraising website TheGivingMachine, adds, “Charities can also benefit from the boom in online shopping as e-retailers slash their prices over Christmas. Last year TheGivingMachine saw a staggering increase in ‘free’ donations as shoppers clicked via to make the most of Christmas/Boxing Day bargains at the same time as raising money for their favourite charities. And in the true spirit of sale shopping, this didn’t cost them a single penny!”

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Smith, David

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