Online Christmas shopping to soar

Wednesday, 11 November 2009
Almost all of us will be shopping online for Christmas presents this year, according to a new survey by eDigitalResearch and IMRG. The results of the latest e-Customer Service Index (eCSI) reveal that consumer confidence in online shopping has grown as 93% of people plan to click online for their Christmas gifts this year, with more than a quarter planning to do more shopping online than last year.

As the key retail benchmark indicator, the survey of 2,804 people asked questions about their shopping habits in the run up to Christmas. Results show that increasing numbers of people are flocking online with 71% even prepared to do half or more of their shopping online this Christmas.

However, the findings also support current assumptions that price will continue to dominate the online marketplace, as people are prepared to shop around to get the best deals. Competition for business will be fierce as 88% of people are expected to research and price-compare before they buy, with almost a quarter of them researching while in-store or at home via their mobile phones.

The research indicates that despite price being the main influencing factor, customer’s still expect to get a good service. In light of the threat of Royal Mail strike action, 60% of consumers are confident that they will receive their gifts on time. Price competitiveness can also be offset through improvements in customer service queries, given that customer satisfaction has dropped to 74% this year.

Chris Russell, Director of eDigitalResearch comments: “Given the online price-war, retailers need to up their game and prove that they can respond effectively to all customer queries through their preferred method of contact. Having good communication with consumers is vital as it encourages trust in the brand and engenders consumer loyalty. Retailers that will succeed are those that anticipate online growth and ensure that they are well-resourced to effectively communicate with their customers.”

James Roper, CEO of IMRG comments: “People are set to deck the halls with online shopping this Christmas, the internet clearly being the first place most of us go to find, buy and organise everything these days. Younger shoppers are already buying pretty much everything online, so retailers may do well to focus on older shoppers – a growing sector, with more money to spend – increasing the type size is generally a good start. And with increasing numbers of people using the internet for ‘window shopping’, it is clear that retailers can do more to convert lookers into bookers.”

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