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Online shopping boom predicted for Christmas


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Online shopping boom predicted for Christmas


Last updated at 13:00pm on 4th November 2006

shop_228x285.jpgBoom: Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular




This Christmas is set to see an online shopping boom, with an average of £4m being spent across the country every hour in the run-up to the festive period, research showed today.

A predicted £7bn will be spent in total - a record 40 per cent rise on the same period last year, the e-retailing industry body, Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) said.

In the run-up to Christmas 2005, £5bn was spent online; in 2004 that figure was £3.3bn.

According to IMRG chief executive, James Roper, the boom is down to sophisticated websites, consumer awareness of availability of goods online and the advent of broadband.

"The internet has become the most reliable way to shop. With real-time product availability becoming the norm at the leading e-retailers, consumers can tick off their shopping lists with certainty, rather than pinning their hopes on pounding the pavements," he said.

"The main driver is the whole industry has just grown up. The supply is massively better than it ever was before.

"Leading stores like John Lewis, Comet and Littlewoods, many of the top brands, have all been trading online for a long while, but now there are more sophisticated, larger ranges.

"From a consumer point of view, millions of people have been shopping online for six years, they're now familiar with it and they trust it.

"50 per cent of homes in large cities now have broadband which has made shopping so much easier, compared to 2000, when broadband didn't exist. It's made online shopping much more accessible in homes. "

Mr Roper said the biggest growth area appeared to be in clothes, thanks in part to the quality of images available of websites.

But when it comes to Christmas, electrical goods are still in demand.

Mr Roper said: "One of the biggest sectors is electrical goods. At Christmas a fifth of all electrical goods are now sold online."

• IMRG figures show that in the remaining 10 weeks until Christmas, an average of £4m will be spent online every hour.

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