UK e-tailers can look forward to a bumper Christmas this year if the latest figures on consumer ecommerce from Experian are to be believed.
The CRM specialist is releasing figures tomorrow from a survey of 500,000 UK consumers, which claims purchasing on the internet has doubled since January.
More significantly, the report concludes that 1.45 million UK consumers have made four or more online purchases this year.
Experian claims that, with half a million respondents, this report is the most statistically valid survey on UK online buying habits yet.
It concludes that the number of UK consumers buying over the web has grown from 5.1 per cent in the new year to 10.7 per cent, or 4.7 million adults, today.
The favourite purchases are holidays, books, computer games and music.
A spokesman for Experian said: "We are seeing concentrations of certain products which might be a reflection of people doing comparison shopping on the net. In conventional retail we see this in shopping centres which have a lot of shops that sell the same sort of products. This means you might see a lot of shopping, but it won't keep all of the shops in business."
The spokesman predicted that consumers will continue to be selective about their online purchases. He said: "We've seen a decline in take-up of financial services online. In my view, this could be a reflection of channel preferences for particular products. People generally want to see the whites of eyes when making key purchases like mortgages."
Overall, the results should cheer UK e-tailers, which were otherwise looking forward to a gloomy next few months.
The Experian spokesman said: "All sorts of people now have the confidence to buy over the net. Going on the results, it might very well be a much better Christmas for UK e-tailers than we expected."
Experian's survey has been welcomed by other CRM specialists. Jason Goodwin, head of CRM at consultancy, Plaut has just completed a damning report on UK customer relations within the dot-com sector.
He said: "There has been bad press about ecommerce security, but I don't think it has deterred people. Previously they were just using the internet to compare prices and then going to the shops. That culture is changing. However, if UK ecommerce doesn't change to more of a customer focus, this is last Christmas chance for many of them."