Online Brits desert high street

18-01-2008

Online Brits desert high street
Year-on-year online sales increased by nearly 50 per cent during December, the IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index says.

"The latest figures show that online Christmas shopping is to set a new record of £15 billion… from October to December," the statement said.

The dip in year-on-year profits and revenues over the Christmas period has left many retailers wondering where all the holiday shoppers had gone.

To the chagrin of many high street shops, the IMRG index provides at least one answer: Britons did more shopping online than they have ever done before.

"Within key sectors such as electrical goods, the research indicates that growth in online sales does come at the expense of high street retailers," the report said.

The phenomenon is not limited to Christmas either. Online retail spending for the full year was up 54 per cent to £46.6 billion from £30.2 billion in 2006.

The statement said December's index was only 0.2 per cent higher than November's, "reflecting the credit crunch across the UK economy".

Fifteen per cent of all retail spending was online in 2007, signaling a change in consumer behaviour, the release said.

The shift towards online shopping has encouraged major retailers to establish strong online presences to meet the demand.

James Roper, chief executive of IMRG, commented: "Consumers are making the most of the 24/7 convenience and competitive pricing that online shopping has to offer.

"Why would you fight the shopping crowd to buy a TV on the high street when you can arrange for it to be delivered to your home, at a time that suits you and often at a more competitive price?"

Four million Britons shopped online on Christmas Day, spending close to £84 million at an average of £21 per person, the report said.

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