Christmas rush boosts B2C fortunes

The Christmas panic to buy gifts is ringing the bells in online stores as online spending continues its annual holiday climb.

The Christmas panic to buy gifts is ringing the bells in online stores as online spending continues its annual holiday climb.

HONGKONG (SCMP) - Proving that the year's dot-bomb headlines have been as much about bears in the media as in the markets, Web shoppers are breaking spending records this week in the pre-Christmas rush. With 10 shopping days to go before the holiday, online spending is continuing its annual holiday climb.

According to market research firm BizRate.com, online shoppers will spend around US$1.21 billion on the Web this week, having already broken the daily sales record by hitting US$222.4 million on Monday. Last year's high water mark came on December 13, when shoppers parted with a record US$177.87 million.

The company said consumers have been buying earlier this year, to avoid the delivery problems that have characterized the Christmas rush of previous years.

A recent survey of its visitors found that 48 per cent intended to finish their holiday shopping by December 15, 2000, giving retailers less than 10 days to deliver the goods.

The most popular purchases were forecast to be toys and games, clothing and compact discs.

BizRate gathers its data by offering price-comparison services covering 1,400 business-to-consumer sites in 19 product categories. According to Web metrics firm PC Data, BizRate is a top 50 Web site, with over 10 million unique visitors last month.