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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 00:29 GMT
Net 'luring Christmas shoppers'
Woman using a computer mouse
Online shoppers tend to be younger and more affluent, says Mintel
High street stores are facing a tough Christmas with more shoppers turning to the internet, a report has said.

A survey of 1,000 people by analysts Mintel suggests almost 40% of British adults will buy some of their gifts online - up from 22% four years ago.

The survey suggests 15% of people now prefer to do their Christmas shopping online - up 5% on last year.

Insurance firm Axa says British people will spend an average of 600 on gifts, with only Americans spending more.

The UK figure is twice as high as that for people in Germany and France.

Credit cards

However, 25% of Britons will use loans and credit cards to fund their generosity, Axa said.

Mintel says the top gifts this year will be music, videos, DVDs and computer software all of which can be bought over the internet.

"This Christmas is set to be a tough one for High street retailers," said Richard Perks, Mintel's director of retail research.

"Tesco on one hand and internet retailers on the other will take the majority of retail growth and the High street is going to be squeezed in between the two."

Internet shoppers tend to be younger and relatively affluent, according to Mintel's UK Retail Briefing report.

But high street stores should get a late surge in shoppers this year because Christmas Eve falls on a Saturday, the report added.

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