Christmas spending online rises by £3m

Online Christmas 2000 spending doubled, but the increase failed to lift the spirits of less established Web retailers, according to research companies Initiative Media Futures and BMRB.

Internet shoppers remained conservative in their choices, restricting purchases largely to CDs, books and toys from sites made familiar by their high street counterpart or by their leading Internet standing.

The most popular sites this year were ones that Internet users had frequented before and felt confident in using. and the online supermarkets scored particularly well.

The number of online Christmas shoppers in 2000 was more than double that of the previous year, rising from 2 million to 5.1 million, with the average online Christmas spend increasing from &£115 to &£140.

The biggest surge in online sales occurred in the second and third weeks of December, despite 42 per cent of online shoppers originally citing the need to order early as a limiting factor to the amount they would spend.

Last-minute buying did benefit some of the more select retailers, such as online jewellers. “There was a sudden rash of purchases on these sites in the last few weeks up to Christmas, perhaps suggesting a degree of panic buying,” says Juliet Mathers an analyst at I’m Futures.

Findings from BMRB’s Internet Monitor also showed that over half of all Internet users say they will not buy online from a supplier if they haven’t heard of the company before.

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