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Christmas to be bumper period for online shopping in UK

21 October 2010 - 12:06 by Simon Crisp

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UK consumers are likely to spend more money online this Christmas than they did in the same period last year, according to a new study published by Media in Retail Group in conjunction with analyst firm Capgemini.

It is estimated that a total of around £6.4 million will pour into e-commerce sites from across the UK in December 2010, which is a total increase of 16.4 per cent compared to the five and a half billion which was spent in 2009.

In September, consumers spent £4.8 billion via safe shopping online and this is being seen as a good indicator that strong sales will be seen, as people prepare to fill their stockings for the festive period.

While e-commerce firms are expected to reap the benefits of the growth in online sales, those who still operate on the high street are said to be seeing a fall in figures, which could represent the tipping point at which safe shopping online become dominant.

Capgemini's Chris Webster, said that the cuts being implemented by the government will have an impact in the way in which consumers spend their money. This could, he believes, result in spending being spread out, as people structure their gift buying into a more affordable framework.

Mr Webster's assertions are based on solid figures. Sales of gifts last month grew by 32 per cent compared to last year and by eight per cent during August, according to the study.

E-commerce expert Alison Wade, said that many firms are seeing people spreading out their spending across many months, with people taking advantage of offers up to 30 days earlier than in previous years.

In the final three months of the year, it is predicted that total online sales will net firms a total of £17.4 billion, which is a significant rise compared to the £15 billion spent last year in Q4.