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Christmas shopping boom online

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20/01/2006

Shoppers spent nearly £5 billion online in the run up to Christmas. Andrew Partridge reportsOnline shopping activity increased by 50% in November and December as shoppers spent a massive £4.98 billion over the Internet compared to the £3.33 billion they spent in the same period in 2004, according to research from Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG).

Sales peaked in the week beginning 5th December, when £653 million was spent online, as consumers bought their Christmas presents on the Internet.

Almost half the adult population shopped online in the last two months of 2005, with 24 million people buying goods over the Internet.

IMRG’s managing director Jo Tucker said: “A step change happened in retailing at Christmas. Consumers have spoken. They want the convenience and choice that online shopping provides. Many just don’t have time to trudge the streets hoping goods are in stock. There can no longer be any doubt that the internet is a major part of the retail landscape, and that it will dominate the retail agenda for the next several years.”

Chief executive James Roper said that it was now time for retailers to make all their goods available online, as he said there were still gaps in the supply of some goods, such as high end fashion items.

He added: “Even leading retailers often only make a small proportion of their total inventory available online, and many don’t bother with spares at all. So huge growth potential remains for the merchants who plug these holes.”

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