Half Brits go online for Christmas spree

A new study reveals the extent of online shopping in the run up to Christmas 2005. Research company IMRG states that as much as half of the adult population in the UK clicked online as sales increased 50 per cent.

It seems that shoppers spent £5 billion online during the 10-week run-up to Christmas, compared with £3.33 billion during 2004, an increase of 50 per cent.

Apparently, sales peaked during the week commencing 5 December, when £653 million was spent online. Around £580 million was spent in the previous and following weeks.

But online shopping was not the answer for everything, noted IMRG’s CEO, James Roper: ‘A surprising number of goods are still either hard to find or unavailable online. Large gaps exist in the supply market, such as high-end fashion and real estate. Even leading retailers often only make a small proportion of their total inventory available online, and many don’t bother with spares at all. So huge growth potential remains for the merchants who plug these holes.’

For the year as a whole, IMRG describes 2005 as ‘a year of remarkable dynamic growth for UK online shopping’ with UK consumers spending £19.2 billion on goods and services, which is 32 per cent more than in 2004.

Twenty four million British consumers are estimated to have shopped online in 2005, spending on average £816 each during the year, and £208 in the run-up to Christmas.

Looking ahead to 2006, the company forecasts that UK e-retail will grow 36 per cent, and that sales will be worth £26 billion for the calendar year. It also believes that shoppers will each spend on average more than £1,000, which will be a new e-commerce landmark.

You can read more analysis on the IMRG website.

Eighty e-retailers contribute data to the IMRG Index, including the likes of Argos, Co-operative Group (CWS), Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Tesco.com Wine and Waitrose.

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