Web-users shop offline

Two-fifths of Internet users will shun online purchases this Christmas in favour of shopping on the high street, according to Forrester Research.

It sees opportunities for clicks and bricks retailers to build cross-channel sales by showcasing promotions on sites. This should appeal to the 38 per cent of non-buyers who research high street purchases online.

Forrester has given the seal of approval to the “Offers in Store” link on Boots’ home page, which it says should drive surfers into their shops.

It says consumers’ spending plans point to a strong Internet Christmas, with 6.2 million UK shoppers “likely to buy” online – up from 2.7 million last year. Of these, 1.2 million will be purchasing online for the first time.

Forrester polled over 500 Internet users and concluded that UK consumers will spend on average &£64 online in November and December.

Budget-conscious Christmas shoppers attach great importance to delivery charges, ranking them as the second most important factor in choosing a site. Forrester believes Marks & Spencer’s free delivery promotion will generate sales.

Almost half (48 per cent) of those buying gifts will spoil themselves – more than are likely to buy presents for children or friends.

– Netpoll research emphasises the importance of giving online feedback on orders – e-mailed alerts or the ability to track orders on a website. “Customers see this as a service unique to the Internet and unavailable in other media,” says Netpoll.

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