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Bumper Christmas predicted for online shopping

28 October 2013 - 10:24 by Graham Miller

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Christmas 2013 is anticipated to be dominated by discussion of just how much money British consumers are spending via safe shopping online, according to Retail Week's Rob Harper.

In the final three months of the year, analysts expect that ?11.6 billion will be spent on e-commerce purchases in the UK, which is a 12 per cent annual increase and should help put the retail sector back on track. Harper even claims that the industry could be seeing growth levels similar to those experienced before the financial meltdown of 2008.

Seventy per cent of consumers own a smartphone, according to a report from Deloitte, although amongst those under the age of 35, this percentage increases to 90, which means that m-commerce is likely to be the real winner in the festive season of 2013.

Harper points to a research study conducted by Retail Week in 2012, which found that the growth in smartphone ownership had actually contributed to a 50 per cent reduction in the number of male consumers who do their Christmas shopping at the last possible minute.

Being able to shop online while out and about apparently makes men more likely to do everything in a timely fashion, so there is no need to get involved with the rush in the days leading up to December 25th.

Tablets could be even more influential in 2013, particularly as they encourage the practice of second screening, which means people are shopping online in the evening, while also watching their favourite TV shows.

Retailers always experience a seasonal boost as Christmas approaches, but growth has been relatively muted in recent years, particularly on the high street. E-commerce and m-commerce will help to pick up the slack and secure an even bigger slice of the sales pie in 2013.