An estimated 24 million surfers will spend £5bn in online shops this Christmas, the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) said today.
Each shopper will spend an average of £208, and the overall spend will represent a rise of over 40 per cent on last year. The IMRG said that sales in October were already 40 per cent higher than a year ago.
Mark Mulligan, research director at Jupiter Research, told vnunet.com: "These figures sound right for three reasons: the number of internet users has risen; they are more used to shopping online than ever before; and we know that the more they have shopped online the more likely they are to buy higher priced items.
"Retailers are getting very good at offering incentives and making sure that if you don't shop with them online you get some useful information and shop with them in the high street.
"That is the key: making sure that the overall spend increases rather than just driving people online."
The optimistic predictions for online retail come after a war of words last week when the IMRG accused some leading electronics vendors of penalising e-commerce by increasing wholesale prices, a practice known as 'dual-pricing'.
Sony defended the activity by saying that pricing reflects the effort put in by each channel, implying that offline outlets get better rates because they also have to shoulder shop and extra staff costs.
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