The widely forecast boom in online Christmas shopping has been hit by an early slowdown in growth, judging by new figures to be released today.

Goldman Sachs and PC Data will publish data showing a 50% year-on-year rise in online sales for the week ending December 3, a huge fall-off from the 139% growth of the preceding week.

This trend is confirmed by the findings of which polled 2,400 e-tailers, revealing that online Christmas sales to December 3 are up only 50% on last year to $2.04 billion, well below the 60%-85% jump widely anticipated.

However, internet traffic continues to rise by the week, up 45% since late October according to NetRatings.

One explanation for the slowdown in sales seems to be lack of trust in e-tailers’ ability to ship purchases to arrive in time for Christmas. Last year the Federal Trade Commission fined seven websites for failing to meet promised delivery dates.

As Advent hurtles inexorably by, this appears to be a problem that can only get worse.

News source: Wall Street Journal