Online retailers in the UK at least are expected to see a Christmas spending boom, according to a survey of 5,500 internet shoppers conducted by online loyalty coalition operator, iPoints.
The survey found that British consumers expect to spend an average of 486 (approx. US$835) online for Christmas, representing a massive increase (88%) over 2004. Overall online spend has also increased significantly year-on-year, with consumers spending an average of 927 over the past 12 months (up 32% on 2004). Almost 9% claimed to have spent more than 3,000 online during the past 12 months.
When asked about the factors that will contribute to them shopping online for Christmas 2005, cheaper prices and discounts were found to be the main driver, with 42.96% citing this as their reason for shopping online. This suggests that, to avoid commoditisation, online retailers need to differentiate themselves so that consumers start to choose their brand for reasons other than price.
Convenience was the next most important factor for consumers, quoted by 18.83%. But 16.62% said they preferred online shopping to avoid high street queues, and a rather worried 1.37% mentioned security or terrorism as a reason for shopping on the internet instead of in the high street.
When it comes to the different categories of products people are likely to buy online, a high proportion of men (39%) and women (20%) will be buying CDs, DVDs and books. But a significantly higher proportion of men will be buying games online (50%), while more women will be buying health and beauty products (40%). More men (70%) than women (65%) also prefer online grocery shopping.
According to Geraldine Tosh, managing director for iPoints, "With such an enormous predicted increase in online spending this Christmas, it seems that the internet should see its overall share of festive spend increase significantly this year." Ipoints.co.uk has also launched its Christmas campaign which offers programme members special offers from its retail partners and other (non-competing) companies, including double iPoints in some of the promotions.