Online shoppers in scam warning

Woman shops for Christmas

Online shopping sales are expected to peak this week but people buying their Christmas presents have been warned to stay alert to scams.

According to e-retail trade body IMRG, 8 December will be the busiest day for online shopping activity and sales with more people going online to get Christmas gifts for friends and family. It forecasts Christmas online sales could reach £13.6 billion this year, with sales up 25%. Consumers are expected to spend £320 million alone on 8 December, with sales peaking at lunchtime.

David Smith, director of operations at IMRG, says: “The internet has become the best place for shoppers looking to make the most out of their squeezed spending resources and find the best prices and products for presents this Christmas. Online has definitely come of age this Christmas.”

Richard Yendall, online sales specialist and chairman of the Cashback Loyalty Association, says 8 December has been the biggest online shopping day for several years, and 2008 is unlikely to be any different.

He explains: “8 December is one of the last days people can safely order products online without having to worry about them arriving on time."

The ease and flexibility of shopping online, as well as lower prices, are key reasons why increasing numbers of people each year use the internet for their Christmas shopping.

Research from Ivobank suggests that around 25.17 million people will be buying online this year. It found that although men tend to purchase goods online in order to find cheaper products, women prefer the internet as it enables them to shop anytime of the day or night.

Martin Peterlechner, director of commercial development at Ivobank, says: “Convenience coming in ahead of lower prices is a particularly interesting find, given the current economic outlook and the credit crunch.”

But Peterlechner warns shoppers against using public computers for electronic shopping trips as you may not know what security software and firewall protection is implemented.


Read the Moneywise guide to shopping online