Christmas online shopping bonanza predicted

Modems roasting on an open fire, encryption nipping at your nose...

Europe is set to cash in on an online spending spree this Christmas with e-shoppers set to shell out almost $2 billion to acquire a little bit of festive spirit. But this figure is dwarfed by the US, which is expected to spend more than $8.5 billion in the run-up to the holiday season. Include the Far East in the equation and e-commerce is set to generate a Christmas cracking $12.2 billion -- up from $4.5 billion last year. Blaine Mathieu of research firm Dataquest said: "While 1998 was the year that online shopping first rose to prominence in the US, the 1999 holiday season is shaping up to be the launching point for an explosion of global consumer e-commerce." What's more Dataquest believes many of the supply chain and distribution problems which took some of the sparkle out of last year's performance have now been sorted out. E-tailers have learned from their mistakes and are better prepared to handle the flood of orders that are anticipated this year, said Mathieu. ®

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