Online Christmas shopping is predicted to set a new record of GBP15 billion sales for the fourth quarter of 2007 (October-December) according to the newly launched IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
This is 60 percent higher than the GBP 9.6 billion recorded during the same period last year.
Despite the huge annual growth in online spend, sales do show signs of weakening with growth slowing 13 percent in October compared to the July - September 2007 period, as a result of higher interest rates and the credit crunch, and the disruption associated with the recent Royal Mail strikes.
Although the average annual growth in e-retail sales doubled in October 2007 to 62 percent, compared to 30.3 percent in the same period last year; this is lower than the growth experienced in July - September, which was 71.3 percent.
However, October’s IMRG Cap Gemini e-Retail Sales Index shows continued growth in online shopping with the sector growing more than twice as fast as it did at this time last year.
Internet shopping sales are still growing 20 times faster than high street sales; estimated to be worth just under £1 billion per week, with £4.4 billion being recorded for the whole of October 2007.
Also e-retail's average annual growth for the year to date (January - October2007) has been 52.5 percent, compared with 36.1 percent in the same period in 2006, with total e-retail sales for the first ten months of 2007 worth £35.7 billion.