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What credit crunch? Online shopping on the rise

Online Christmas food and gift shopping up by 10%

A Christmas giftwrap

Online sales in 2008 are expected to buck the credit crunch and increase by £0.5 billion this Christmas compared with online sales last year. 

The research into online spending trends, conducted by business advisory firm Deloitte, suggests that increased online spending by consumers over the Christmas period is likely to contribute to an overall 10% rise in online sales, from £4.2 billion in 2007 to £4.7 billion this year. 

Christmas shopping trends

The Deloitte research shows that online shoppers are planning to spend an average of £773 overall this Christmas compared with £655 for the total population. Unlike people who don’t shop online, whose annual planned spend is declining as a result of tighter finances, online shoppers are planning to spend the same online as last year on gifts and food this Christmas. 

The research also found that men are more likely to use the internet for their Christmas shopping than women.

Ian Geddes, Lead Retail Consulting partner at Deloitte, said: ‘Although our research shows that the overall number of consumers using the internet for Christmas shopping is stable, these people are using the internet more often and spending more online than ever before.  

‘Consumers who do most of their shopping online are expecting to splash out over 15% more than people who will rely mainly on traditional bricks-and-mortar retail for their Christmas shopping.’

Shops raise online presence

The number of retailers offering websites that let you buy their products online has seen another steep rise this year, suggesting that retailers are taking advantage of the continued rise of online shopping. More than 80% of retailers now offer online stores, up from 71% last year and 51% in 2006, and 90% of retailers surveyed expect their online sales to grow as a proportion of total sales. 

However, online sales remain a small proportion of most retailers’ revenue, with 56% of retailers saying online sales account for less than 10% of their total.

Which? online shopping advice

Which? retail expert Sarah Dennis says: ‘Online shopping is a tempting way to avoid the Christmas rush so it’s not surprising that consumers aren’t thinking with their feet – the wealth of choice and the bargains you can get are a real draw. 

‘But online shops are not immune from the economic problems that retailers are facing at the moment, so make sure you shop as carefully for your Christmas gifts online as you would on the high street.’

If you’re tempted to forego the stress of the high street and do your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your own home, use Which? advice on buying safely online to ensure a hassle-free shopping experience. If you shop from one of the top shops in the , you’re guaranteed a good online shopping experience – but if you are unlucky enough to have problems with any online shops, the Which? guide to online shopping problems can help you out of your jam.


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