While doom and gloom is forecast for the high street this Christmas, it seems that online retailers are set for their biggest year yet. ipoints.co.uk, the UK’s biggest online coalition loyalty programme, has carried a survey out amongst just under 5,500 internet shoppers which shows that they expect to spend an average of £486 online this Christmas, a staggering 88% increase on last year. Overall online spend has also increased significantly year on year, with responders spending an average of £927 over the past 12 months, up by 32% compared to the previous year. Interestingly, almost 9% of responders claim to have spent over £3,000 online during that time.

When asked about the factors that will contribute to them shopping online this Christmas it is interesting to note that cheaper prices/discounts are the leading driver, with 42.96% citing this as their reason for using the web. This suggests that, to avoid commoditisation, online retailers more than ever need to differentiate themselves so that consumers start to choose their brand for reasons over and above their prices. Convenience is the next most significant factor, quoted by 18.83% of responders. 16.62% said that they preferred online shopping in order to avoid high street queues. Perhaps surprisingly, though, only 1.37% of responders mentioned security/terrorism as a reason for shopping on the internet this Christmas.

When it comes to the different categories of products people are likely to buy online, a high proportion of men and women will be buying CDs, DVDs and books. Interestingly, a significantly bigger proportion of men will be buying games online (50% vs 39%), while more women will be buying health and beauty products (40% vs 20%), begging the question whether people buy presents for other people that they actually want to receive themselves! Men have also got the hang of a less stressful Christmas with 5% more opting for online grocery shopping than women (70% vs 65%).

- 72% of men and 68% of women will be buying CDs online
- 75% of men and 69% of women will be buying DVDs online
- 50% of men and 39% of women will be buying games online
- 20% of men and 40% of women will be buying health & beauty products online
- 66% of men and 66% of women will be buying books online
- 23% of men and 22% of women will be buying DIY products online
- 70% of men and 65% of women will be buying groceries online

Geraldine Tosh, Managing Director at ipoints.co.uk, comments, “With such an enormous predicted increase in online spending this Christmas, it seems that the internet should see its overall share of festive spend increase significantly this year. With the huge choice available, the convenience and the ability to shop around it makes sense to shop from the comfort of your own home and avoid the crowds. It’s a much less stressful way to buy your presents and ultimately gives you more time to spend on more enjoyable festive exploits”.

Ipoints.co.uk has launched a major Christmas campaign which offers ipoints members special offers from loyalty partners and other non-competing companies, including double ipoints in some promotions. Tosh concludes, “This Christmas, ipoints.co,uk will have some of the best offers on the web, so if consumers are going to be buying Christmas presents anyway, it makes sense for them to earn ipoints at the same time. In this way they can reward themselves for their purchases across a number of sites and sectors , or even redeem their ipoints for some exciting gifts which they can also give as presents.”

ENDS

Contacts:

Geraldine Tosh at ipoints.co.uk: t: 020 7819 2841, e: gtosh@ipoints.co.uk

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 29th November 2005