Ah, the double-click of mice at Christmas

Web sales tipped to rise 34 per cent.THE growth in online spending this Christmas is tipped to more than triple as shoppers increasingly turn to websites and smartphone applications to fill their stockings.

Figures from business information analysts IBISWorld reveal that overall Christmas spending will rise by 3.9 per cent this year, with the average Australian spending $1600, for a total of $28.5 billion.

Driving the growth will be online retailing, with IBISWorld forecasting a sales surge of 34.4 per cent, compared with growth of just below 10 per cent between December 2010 and 2011.

Liquor retailing is expected to top the scale and generate 10 per cent growth from 2011, followed by electronics with a jump of 7.7 per cent.

“This year we’ll spend almost the same amount online as we will on toys, games and video games – all significant categories in traditional Christmas spending,” said IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie.

The rush to buy online has turned into a flood as consumers use the strong Australian dollar to buy products overseas at deep discounts to domestic prices.

A report from Google Australia this week showed that this year is expected to be Australia’s biggest online Christmas.

Google reported an overall 20 per cent increase in shopping-related searches year-on-year as Christmas shoppers took to the web to research gift ideas and place orders.

Traditional retailers have been improving their web offerings to ensure a cut of the money spent over the internet this Christmas finds its way into their tills.

David Jones launched its new online shopping site last week with more than 90,000 product lines available, while Myer (40,000 items available online) has also been adding functions and products to its site. Woolworths and Coles have rolled out mobile phone apps and strengthened their web offerings.

Ms Dobie said clothing and footwear retailers were expected to be “licking their wounds” this festive season with growth of just 1.3 per cent on last year, noting that this category would feel the heat from the popularity of online buying.

Faster delivery times and in some cases free delivery are being used by online retailers to win customers from conventional retailers.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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