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US e-Xmas looks bleak

Get ready for some 'very tough sledding'

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Softening consumer confidence in the US could hit ecommerce revenues in the run-up to Christmas, according to gloomy research released by San Francisco-based Odyssey.

It found that consumer confidence in the US has slipped with shoppers less likely to spend online in the run-up to the busiest time of the year for both retailers and etailers alike.

Odyssey found that only half of those who made online purchases in the first half of 2001 said they would make e-purchases in Q3 and Q4. It also found that fewer people have shopping online in the last six months.

The fear is that etailers hoping for a rush of orders during the run-up to Xmas might be disappointed. Indeed, Odyssey is so gloomy about its forecast that it fears some etailers might not survive.

Said Nick Donatiello, Odyssey's President and CEO: "Online retailers are going to face some very tough sledding this holiday season.

"Certainly some of those who have established brand names and exercise extraordinary discipline in targeting customers will come through fine, but the data provides ample reason to believe that many online retailers who expect this holiday season to be their salvation will find it instead to be their demise," he said.

The research is at odds with a recent survey by Yahoo! and ACNielsen which reports growing confidence among e-shoppers. ®

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