Internet retail will account for 25 per cent of all Christmas gift purchases this year, according to new research released today.
Industry analysts Kantar Worldpanel estimate that the over-55’s will be the biggest online shoppers this yuletide, making up around a third of all transactions through retail websites.
Time poor deal hunters are being drawn online this year like never before and high street retailers are likely to focus on aggressive promotions to keep the store tills ringing.
Alex Seron, Consumer Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel, commented: “Traditionally the online retail market has been the domain of the younger generation, but this year we will see older generations increasingly using this channel.
“This is largely due to both the convenience element of the internet, and the perception that it is cheaper than high street stores. With people looking to spend less this Christmas the internet offers a Santa’s grotto of Christmas bargains.”
In a separate survey, market research company Retail Eyes found that eight per cent of customers questioned said that they would be doing all of their gift buying online, whereas ten per cent planned to shop exclusively in bricks and mortar stores.
Retail Eyes also found that four out of five people intend to make at least one online purchase and 87 per cent found crowds and long queues the most frustrating aspects of Christmas shopping.
Both surveys suggest that retailers will need to work hard to wrench customers away from their computer screens and once they are in the stores speed and quality of service is going to be crucial to securing trade.
Simon Boydell, Marketing Manager at Retail Eyes, said: “It is vital that customer-facing staff are made acutely aware that customers can quickly become frustrated and there must be a clear presence on the shop floor of members of staff working to manage queues efficiently.
“Customer facing staff make the biggest difference to the Christmas shopping experience and their enthusiasm during this period can really influence sales.”