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UK splashes out £5bn on bumper e-Xmas

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Consumer demand for online shopping broke more records this Christmas with UK sales up almost 50 per cent compared to last year, according to research from Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG).

The company estimates shoppers spent almost £5bn in the 10 weeks to Christmas compared to £3.33bn during the same period last year.

These latest figures cap off yet another good 12 months for online sales, with IMRG describing 2005 as a "year of remarkable dynamic growth for UK online shopping".

Over the past 12 months, UK consumers spent £19.2bn on goods and services - 32 per cent more than in 2004. Researchers reckon that 24 million UK shoppers bought something online last year, spending, on average, £816 each.

"There can no longer be any doubt that the internet is a major part of the retail landscape and that it will dominate the retail agenda for the next several years," said IMRG managing director, Jo Tucker.

"A step change happened in retailing at Christmas. Consumers have spoken. They want the convenience and choice that online shopping provides. Many just don't have time to trudge the streets hoping goods are in stock."

Looking ahead, IMRG reckons that e-tail will grow 36 per cent during 2006, with sales of £26bn and punters spending on average more than £1,000 online. ®

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