Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Christmas Day web shopping surge

Father Christmases shop online
Online shoppers spent more on Christmas Day in 2008 than in 2007

Christmas lunch and the Queen's speech are being joined by another festive staple, online shopping, according to new research.

The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), a body which represents online retailers, reports that shoppers spent £102 million on 25 December.

The figures represent a 21% increase on Christmas Day in 2007.

Shoppers spent an average of £28.60, up from the £19.09 which was spent on Christmas Day the year before.

Christmas Day surge

With High Street retailers suffering from the economic downturn, online activity is providing some welcome respite.

According to IMRG, John Lewis enjoyed its busiest hour online on record at 1900 GMT on Christmas Eve, shortly after the start of its clearance sale.

On Christmas Day itself, visitor numbers to the site were 12 times higher than in 2007.

Sales lure shoppers

"The traffic online during Christmas was heavily affected by the sales starting early this year," said Chris Russell, director of online digital researchers, eDigitalResearch.

"Most traditional retailers commenced online sales when stores closed on Christmas Eve, with online-only retailers starting after last delivery day deadlines were reached."

Boxing Day was the busiest single day for online retailers in 2008 when traffic was almost double the level on Christmas Day.

Last minute bargains

Shoppers delayed spending in the hope of snapping up bargains, payments company SecureTrading suggested.

"Normally, November is our biggest month and in 2007 there was a 2% drop in transactions processed from November to December as people finished their shopping in good time.

"This year we saw a 15% rise from November to December. In the week of Christmas itself, people went crazy with an increase of a 91% in the number of transactions processed," said SecureTrading's Jon Prideaux.

Positive outlook

eDigitalResearch believes "aggressive sales" tactics will help online sales to grow this year.

"The underlying message is continuing consumer confidence in the online channel which has remained robust throughout the festive period.

"No doubt the consumer will continue out the bargains."

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