• Total of £13.16 billion forecast to be spent online in the final quarter of 2008
  • Online spend in Q4 08 predicted to be 15% higher than same period last year
  • Monday 8th December set to be the biggest online Christmas shopping day

IMRG and Capgemini today announce their predictions for UK online sales for Christmas
and the final quarter of 2008.  Based on the trends from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail
Sales Index, which has tracked online spending for the past seven years, a total
of £13.16 billion will be spent by British shoppers in the run up to Christmas
– an equivalent of £215[1] for every person in the UK.  This represents a 15 per cent increase in year
on year sales but also shows a slowdown in growth when compared to the 54 per
cent year on year increase seen in 2007.

Clothing and Alcohol

IMRG and Capgemini predict that online sales of clothing, footwear and accessories
will be worth £1,260 million during Q4 2008, with sales bucking general economic
trends and rising more than 25% year-on-year.

Online sales of beer, wine and spirits will be worth £233 million during Q4 2008. 
Typically, online sales rise steadily from the first week of November and peak
during the first week of December, when £24 million worth of alcohol will be bought
via the internet.

Christmas spending

Monday 8th December will be the biggest UK online shopping day of 2008, with sales worth
£320 million.  Forty two per cent of those sales will take place outside of traditional
shopping hours, either before 9am or after 6pm. The peak shopping hour is expected
to take place between 1-2pm on Monday 8th December when £28 million will be spent online during this single hour.  This
is double the amount spent online during the peak hour of 2006, at midday on Monday
11th December.

Mike Petevinos, Head of Consulting for Retail at Capgemini UK, said:       

“’What will Christmas sales be this year and what do I need to be doing to succeed?’
These are the key questions retailers are asking themselves right now and, with
the current economic climate as uncertain as it is, they are not easy questions
to answer. However, there seems to be at least one area of certainty. Online sales
look set to ride the economic storm and continue to be the place retailers can
look for growth. Getting this channel right and overcoming the delivery issues
of last year will be key to looking back on the holiday season with a smile.”

IMRG’s CEO, James Roper, commented: 

“British shoppers will beat the crunch with internet prices this Christmas, spending
more than a billion pounds each week in the run-up.  The internet is well established
as one of consumers’ most powerful economic weapons against tough times.  Retailers
and suppliers will be under extreme pressure to price competitively this year,
so there will be a lot of volatility out there – and fantastic bargains – that
the internet uniquely enables canny shoppers to find and grab before anyone else
gets the chance.  Our top tip, as ever, is to look out for the ISIS and IDIS online
shopping trust marks on e-retailers’ sites to make sure you get great service
as well as great prices.”

Managing Director of Firebox.com, Christian Robinson, says:

“Customer expectation will be higher than ever this year, as the standards of
online retail are ever increasing. The main piece of advice that I would give
to retailers preparing for the festive season is to really get into their customers
heads. Think like the customers think and you will be on the right lines to meet
their demands.

We plan to make our customer experience even more enjoyable and stress-free this
Christmas. We are launching a Christmas promotion, where specific products will
be discounted on certain days in the run up to Christmas. We have also teamed
up with Royal Mail to provide a same day service for customers living within the
M25 meaning they can order goods by 2pm for a delivery between 6pm and 9pm the
same evening. In addition, we are offering a gift wrapping service for the first

Alison Wade, Head of Marketing at BuyaGift, said:

“Having seen steady growth throughout 2008, we have every reason to feel cautiously
optimistic coming into the fourth quarter.  In the present economic climate, the
general public may well be looking to curb their Christmas budget. With this in
mind we’ve focused much of our attention on creating special offers for website
users, including discount codes that are pushed out to closed user groups along
with the press and exclusive discounted prices sourced from our experience providers.”

Notes to Editors

About IMRG

IMRG (Interactive Media In Retail Group) is the industry body for global e-Retail.
Formed in 1990, IMRG is setting and maintaining pragmatic and robust e-Retail
Standards to enable fast-track industry growth, and facilitates its community
of members with practical help, information, tools, guidance and networking. Consumers
can be confident when dealing with IMRG Members because all have committed to
operate using methods that are Honest, Decent, Legal, Truthful and Fair, and have
undertaken to not bring the industry into disrepute. The strength of IMRG is the
collective and co-operative power of its members.

About Capgemini

Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and
outsourcing services, enables its clients to transform and perform through technologies.
Capgemini provides its clients with insights and capabilities that boost their
freedom to achieve superior results through a unique way of working – the Collaborative
Business Experience – and through a global delivery model called Rightshore®,
which aims to offer the right resources in the right location at competitive cost.
Present in 36 countries, Capgemini reported 2007 global revenues of EUR 8.7 billion
and employs over 83,000 people worldwide.

More information is available at www.uk.capgemini.com.

About the ‘IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index’

The IMRG Capgemini Index tracks ‘online sales’, which we define as ‘transactions
completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels’ from any location,
including in-store.  These sales are predominantly internet-based today, but the
Index remains ready to record e-retail sales conducted via whatever interactive
channels the market may embrace in the future.  The Index has been re-based to
reflect the size of the market.

Around sixty e-retailers regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index,
including 247 Electrical, Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Ancestral Collections,
Arcadia Group, ASOS.com, BeCheeky.com, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Blacks, Boden.co.uk,
Boots Direct, Brora, Buyagift.com, Carphone Warehouse, Charles Tyrwhitt,  Cloggs,
Comet, Co-operative Travel, Crocus.co.uk, dabs.com, Damart, Daxon, Debenhams,
e-flowersUK.co.uk, EmpireDirect, Figleaves.com, Firebox, Furniture123, Gadgets.co.uk,
Game.net, GreatValueJewellery.com, Greenfingers.com, Interflora, I Want One of
Those, J D Williams, Jason Shankey, John Lewis Partnership, La Redoute, lastminute.com,
Lighting-Direct, Lookfantastic.com, M and M Direct, Made in Sheffield, Marks &
Spencer, Millets, New Look, Next, Otto UK (Freemans, Grattan, Kaleidoscope), PetPlanet.co.uk,
Pixmania, Prezzybox.com, QED-UK, QVC, R C Roland, Redcats UK, Shoe-Shop.com, Shop
Direct Home Shopping, Schuh, Serenata Flowers, Skinstore.com, Tesco.com Wine,
Tesco Electrical, The Fragrance Shop, The Jewellery Channel, The Sunday Times
Wine Club, TUI UK, United Co-op, Vertbaudet, Waitrose,  Wilkinson Hardware.

[1] Based on overall spend from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index’ divided
by UK population according to CIA World Factbook – https://www.cia.gov/library/publications /the-world-factbook/print/uk.html