Over £15 billion pounds to be spent online this Christmas

| Press release
Online shopping growth slows in October by 13%; but is still growing 20 times faster than the high street.

Latest predicted e-retail sales figures released from new ‘IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index’

Online Christmas shopping is predicted to set a new record of £15 billion sales for the fourth quarter of 2007 (October-December) according to the newly launched IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This is 60% higher than the £9.6 billion recorded during the same period last year.

Despite the huge annual growth in online spend, sales do show signs of weakening with growth slowing 13% in October compared to the July – September 2007 period, as a result of higher interest rates and the credit crunch, and the disruption associated with the recent Royal Mail strikes. Although the average annual growth in e-retail sales doubled in October 2007 to 62%, compared to 30.3% in the same period last year; this is lower than the growth experienced in July-September, which was 71.3%.

However, October’s IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index shows continued growth in online shopping with the sector growing more than twice as fast as it did at this time last year. Internet shopping sales are still growing 20 times faster than high street sales; estimated to be worth just under £1 billion per week, with £4.4 billion being recorded for the whole of October 2007. Also e-retail’s average annual growth for the year to date (January-October 2007) has been 52.5%, compared with 36.1% in the same period in 2006, with total e-retail sales for the first ten months of 2007 worth £35.7 billion.

Now in its seventh year, the ‘IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index’, previously known as the ‘IMRG e-Retail Sales Index’ has become a key indicator on the trends and performance of online retail, used by the industry as the standard by which the sector is measured.

Jo Evans, MD of IMRG, said: “October’s IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index shows there is no sign of the online shopping boom petering out, even when other factors impact overall shopping trends. We are also delighted to announce Capgemini as our partner working to develop the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Capgemini is a global leader in consulting and technology with a strong background in reporting and analysis and shares our vision for the development of the e-Retail Sales Index. IMRG has been looking at ways of ensuring the continued robustness of analysis whilst expanding it into new sectors and providing a system which will give greater detail and insight into the figures gathered for our contributors and members.”

“We are planning to breakout additional sectors, and are very keen to increase the number of retail contributors by bringing on board IMRG members and other retailers who presently do not participate in the scheme.”

Anthoula Madden, Vice President at Capgemini’s Consumer Products and Retail Team says “We are thrilled to be a part of this collaborative partnership with IMRG and we will be providing previously unseen insight into e-retail sales figures including market trends and customer behaviours. As predicted by IMRG after the last peak sales period, online retailing continues to grow apace and with total retail sales showing relatively little growth, any traditional ‘bricks’ retailers who do not have an online presence are effectively seeing their available market share eroded. The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index provides great insight into consumer behaviour and we can see that where consumer confidence has dipped slightly across online and the high street, online continues to be a good option for those who want to balance limited free time with shopping and other activities.”

David Walmsley, Head of Web Selling, John Lewis Direct commented: “October showed continued strong growth for johnlewis.com, significantly higher than the previous year. This performance was driven by the revamped web site, revised marketing activity and strong merchandising, which created a much more compelling shopping experience for our customers.”

Nicolas Kalmus, Sales Director of GreatValueJewellery.com noticed “a slightly later start to the Christmas buying season this year which in previous years has started mid-October. We put this down to a combination of credit crunching and more savvy buyers, who predict the early start of sales both online and on the high street. With shoppers being more careful with their money, order extras such as free shipping, further discounts and promotional codes have seen GreatValueJewellery.com continue to grow its customer base by 100% year on year.”

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About The Interactive Media in Retail Group (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, which it calls the Collaborative Business Experience. Capgemini reported 2006 global revenues of EUR 7.7 billion and employs 82,000 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.

More than eighty e-retailers regularly contribute data to the IMRG Capgemini Index, including:

Airport Parking & Hotels Ltd, Ancestral Collections, Arcadia Group, ASOS.com, Avon Cosmetics, BeCheeky.com, Berry Bros. & Rudd, Boden.co.uk, Boots Direct, Carphone Warehouse, Cloggs, Comet, Co-operative Group (CWS), Co-operative Travel, Co-­operative Electrical, Comet, Crocus.co.uk, dabs.com, Daxon, Debenhams, e-flowersUK.co.uk, EmpireDirect, Figleaves.com, Firebox, Furniture123, Game.net, GreatValueJewellery.com, Greenfingers.com, Interflora, I Want One of Those, J D Williams, Jason Shankey, John Lewis Department Stores, La Redoute, lastminute.com, Littlewoods Retail, Lookfantastic.com, Made in Sheffield, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, 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 Group, Skinstore.com, Tesco.com Wine, Tesco Electrical, The Sunday Times Wine Club, TUI UK, United Co-op, Vertbaudet, Waitrose , Widget.