Whilst the number of online visitors was up by a staggering 51% for the 2 months upto Christmas 2005 compared to last year, the spend per head fell by over 15% during the same period according to ipoints.co.uk, the UK’s biggest online coalition loyalty programme, which monitored activity from a sample of 161,000 shoppers.

Ipoints.co.uk tracked activity on the shoppers who made their Christmas purchases through ipoints.co.uk’s 250 retail shopping partners and collected ipoints loyalty points. Indeed, ipoints.co.uk also noted an increase of 43% in the number of shoppers collecting ipoints on their purchases this Christmas compared to last, showing the growth in ipoints as a currency of loyalty and suggesting that consumers are becoming more savvy with their online shopping, increasingly looking for added value when they shop.

With the number of people visiting the internet increasing by such a large proportion this year, it seems that more and more consumers are appreciating the convenience and prices that they find online. However, etailers should be somewhat concerned about the fall in spend per head.

Says Robert Barker, Commercial Director at ipoints.co.uk, “One of the contributing factors to the drop in spend per head was that retailers – both on and offline – were dropping prices and margins on lower ticket items such as CDs, DVDs books and some electronic items due to a more competitive shopping environment, which is obviously good news for consumers. However, it is also likely to be an indication of a tighter purse from the UK consumer. This has already been suggested by Bank of England figures which show that the growth rate of consumer credit fell to just 9.8% in November with credit card spending dropping in particular - the appetite of UK consumers for new debt has fallen to its lowest level for 11 years.”

ipoints.co.uk also tracked the type of goods people were buying online, with the most popular purchases being CDs, DVDs, books and electronic items, as well as gifts and gadgets. According to ipoints.co.uk loyalty partner Prezzybox.com, one of the UK’s top online gift etailers, the best selling items in the gifts and gadgets category were Cushtie Cushions (cushions which can be moulded to any shape and then bounce back to their original form), Antworks (a living environments for ants which tunnel through nutritional gel) and chocolate fountains. It seems that consumers have identified that the internet is a fantastic resource for locating unusual and unique gifts, finally doing away with the need to give socks and Christmas jumpers.

Media contact:
Robert Barker at ipoints.co.uk: t: 020 7819 2820
Susan Perolls at Loudmouth PR: t: 020 7274 9790, e: susanp@loudmouthpr.co.uk

About ipoints

Ipoints ltd is a direct marketing and loyalty services provider. Ipoints own and operate ipoints.co.uk, UK’s biggest online coalition loyalty programme, with over 1 million registered members who earn ipoints from over 300 etailer partners and exchange them for a variety of rewards covering over 200,000 items. It provides the means for companies to reward their customers with meaningful and desirable products. In addition, ipoints as a media-owner has a database of active online customers, providing access to clients for direct marketing purposes. Ipoints also build and manage white label staff and trade incentive and motivation programmes.

Published on: 12:00AM on 30th January 2006