The time of year is upon us again when consumer heads and wallets turn towards Christmas shopping and gift ideas. The traditional Christmas rush that retainers thrive on sees hordes of shoppers descend upon the high street battling it out for gifts for family and friends. It is a time of stress as well as financial strain as shoppers wrestle through the crowds and the winter elements to find the right presents to cross off of the Christmas list. لباس افغانی
But the Christmas crowds have been increasingly lighter in recent years and the traditional pavement pounding has been greatly reduced as more and more shoppers choose to find gifts from the comfort of their own home. The 2004 Christmas season saw the strongest ever performance for the Internet retail sector in the UK, with online retail experiencing a 23% increase in traffic from December 2003, according to new data (http://www.hitwise.com) Avoiding the usual hustle and bustle of the high streets in towns and cities across the country seems to be a priority for an increasing number of consumers and the trend seems set to continue this year.
The sheer variety and depth of online retail offerings presents a plethora of opportunity for the Christmas shopper to avoid the hassle of the usual Christmas shopping expedition and opt instead for the comfort of the home PC. The breadth of Christmas retail offerings is significant with a strong presence of online retailers competing directly with traditional high street retailers for the festive cash. The increased sophistication of the online retail marketplace has seen a presence for online retailers across all markets and sectors. Christmas is traditionally a time for the kids, but parents can avoid the stampede for this years’ must have toys (http://www.justtoys.com). Even larger ticket items such as furniture can be found on the web these days (http://www.standanddeliver.com). It seems that everyone is getting in on the online retail act and vying for the attention of those keen on beating the Christmas rush.
The trends are part of a wider paradigm shift within the retail sector. Evidence suggests that some 87% of consumers are using the internet to purchase goods and services and are doing so with increased frequency with some 73% of the online retail population believing that they can get a better deal online (http://www.netimperative.com). Never one to let a demographic shift pass them by, traditional high street retailers are developing their web presence in the face of this new competition. Leading players within their respective sectors such as Schuh (http://www.schuh.co.uk) and Tesco (http://www.tesco.com) are getting in on the act to try and attract a piece of the action.
The result is more consumer choice in terms of products and in terms of venue. As more and more convert to home shopping the high street players will continue to look to their online presence to cater for the emerging marketplace. Whilst the Christmas rush will no doubt continue this year on high streets nationwide, there just might be a little more space and a little less stress than in previous years.
Steven is an independent cultural commentator who contributes to a wide range of journals and magazines both online and