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UK heading for a record e-Christmas

Businesses who have built up a decent online presence can look forward to cashing in this December

Online retailers can look forward to a particularly merry Christmas, with latest research predicting a record breaking season for UK Internet shopping.

The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) said on Wednesday that British e-commerce spending was up 40 percent year-on-year in October. IMRG predicts that 24 million UK citizens will spend a total of £5bn online between them. This is twenty times as much as was spent online for Christmas in 2000.

"The latest online shopping sales figures show that online shopping is currently growing 130 times faster than high street sales," reported the IMRG.

Hitwise, which tracks UK Web traffic, agrees, It reported on Wednesday that visits to retail sites rose five percent week-on-week, for the week finishing 19 November.

Hitwise tracks the online behaviour of around 8 million UK Web users. It can't give precise figures for the number of visits, but it did say that more people went to retail sites in the week that ended on 19 November than in any week last year.

"At the current rate of growth, online retailers are set to have their best year yet," said Heather Hopkins, director of research for Hitwise UK.

Graeme Wearden
November 24, 2005, 17:40 GMT