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by Lucy Griffiths on 6th November 2008
Analysts are predicting that in spite of the economic slowdown, 2008 is still going to be a big year for online Christmas shopping in the UK, as everyone is turning to the web to save time and money. Research suggests that more shoppers than ever will look for their Christmas gifts online in 2008.
This echoes last year’s phenomenal online retail results, which some estimates suggest reached nearly £5bn in the fourth quarter of 2007, a growth of nearly 40% from the previous year. Last December’s most searched item was the Nintendo Wii, which vastly overshadowed searches for Apple’s iPod and iPhone, it’s anyone’s guess as to this year’s most searched item.
According to a recent YouGov survey, 54% of people polled said that they would be spending less money on Christmas gifts this year. Whilst that might seem a depressing prospect, the same survey revealed a 10% rise in those using the Internet to purchase their gifts this year. One in five people in the UK will buy half of their Christmas presents online. Despite the decline in total amount spent, the average online shopper will spend £1600 this year.
Internet sales in United Kingdom are climbing at a dramatic pace. Since the year 2000, Internet sales have risen by 3,500% to £42bn this year. It’s expected that by 2010, that figure is set to climb further still to £72bn. As an indication of 2008 shopping trends, Primark, the clothing retailer announced that this year’s online sales have increased so far by 12% whilst High Street sales have fallen by 6%.
Despite the massive success of online Christmas shopping, it’s hard to believe that more than 50% of the top 100 retailers will not make any revenue from Internet sales during Christmas 2008, because they do not have their own website.
One surprise factor is the Christmas Day shopping phenomena. Whilst the shops were already closed on the 25th December, four million Britons went online in 2007 and spent £84 million. Without a website, without an online presence, businesses of all sizes are missing out on a huge slice of the Christmas retail pudding.
One of the reasons for the increase in online Christmas sales is that older Internet users between the ages of mid 40′s and 50′s are beginning to use the Internet for their own online shopping. Previously, this age group didn’t shop online but as the UK’s population becomes more Internet savvy, a greater number of older customers are buying their Christmas presents online.
Kelkoo, the online shopping comparison website recently did an online survey in the UK and found that 78% of those polled stated that they would be buying the greater part of their Christmas gifts online.
Despite the rather undeniable financial crisis, online sales continue to rise and this Christmas will be no different. Don’t expect deserted High Streets this year though, the key figure for 2008 is that only 17p in every retail pound is currently being spent online. This figure is set to rise year on year, leading to the conclusion that this is just the beginning.