Online Christmas sales up 15% Online spending topped £4.67 billion in December

15 January 2009

Shopping online with a credit card

Safe shopping online with credit cards

Online sales over the Christmas period were up nearly 15% on a year ago, according to figures released today.

Internet shoppers spent more than £4.67 billion online in December 2008 - the equivalent of £76.67 for every person in the UK - according to the IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

Find out which online retailers have been voted top for customer satisfaction in our online retailer survey results.

Online retailer sales

The Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index tracks online sales using data provided by about 70 online retailers. 

It found that consumer spending during December 2008 varied between retail sectors. Online sales of alcohol were down 16% compared with December 2007, while clothing sales were up 32% compared with a year ago. 

Both lingerie and health and beauty sectors saw declines, while sales of electrical products were up 7% compared to December 2007 with an average spend of £136 per person.

Online shopping growth

Despite overall sales rising by 14.2% during December 2008, monthly growth fell for the first time since December 2002, with consumers spending 1.5% less online than in November 2008. This fall was put down to November's record high online sales.

Capgemini UK's Mike Petevinos said: 'This is the first recession we have seen where online will play a significant role in mainstream spending.

'It is also clear that retailers are seizing the potential of the internet to reach shoppers with targeted discounts and promotions.'

Our guide to January sales lists current sales and discounts available on the high street and online. 

Online price comparison

Additional consumer research from Capgemini found that 44% of consumers used the web to research prices, 37% did more than half their shopping online and 60% spent more online this Christmas than last year.

The poll of 2,000 shoppers revealed 21% of consumers often or always buy clothing in multiple sizes so they can return what does not fit.

Some 20% were put off buying clothes because of the difficulty returning them and 24% were put off because they could not check the quality.