UK Online Sales Double Over Christmas Period

21 January 2008

WOKING, UK: Online sales in the UK grew by more than 50% year-on-year in the final quarter of 2007, with many high street retailers benefiting from surging trade via their websites, according to consultancy and technology firm Capgemini.

Total online spend reached £15.2 billion ($29.3bn; €20.1bn) in Q4, an increase of £6bn on the previous year, fuelled in particular by sales of clothing and electronic goods.

Shopping on the web reached a high-point in the first week of December, a peak that came later than in previous years, suggesting shoppers were waiting for pre-Christmas price reductions.

Across the UK retail sector, some 15 pence of every pound spent on goods during 2007 went online - a five pence rise on 2006 - with web spend reaching £30.2bn for the year.

While high street retailers reported mixed festive figures, entertainment store HMV and its bookselling stablemate Waterstones said online sales doubled over the Christmas and New Year period; while supermarket giant Tesco's online sales were also up by nearly 25% over the same period.

Catalogue store Argos reported online sales in the last third of 2007 and early 2008 up by nearly 25%, while Marks & Spencer offset disappointing retail results with an online improvement of nearly 80% in the final quarter of 2007.

Anthoula Madden, vp of Capgemini's consumer products and retail division, said: "There can be no doubt online is growing its share at the expense of bricks and mortar retailers and we believe this trend will continue."

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff