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White knuckle bargain hunters wait until Christmas Day to buy gifts

− More than one in 10 to shop for presents on Christmas Day −

New research from Sky Broadband* shows that around seven million people in the UK are waiting until Christmas Day to buy friends and family presents this year[1]. Of 2,000 people surveyed, 14% fell into this group of last minute online shoppers. The revelation follows recent figures released showing that in the previous two years, UK consumers spent over £100 million online on 25 December**.

Popular choices for those who don’t want to be ‘found out’ forgetting to buy gifts might include online purchases for concert tickets, hotel bookings, beauty treatments, experiences, theatre trips or gift tokens, which can be printed out on Christmas morning.

One of those surveyed was Mark, a 35 year old marketing professional from Chigwell who said, “Thank god for vouchers! When I realised how many presents my wife had got me last year I made a mad dash to my computer and bought her a spa day. I got such a bargain; I’m planning to do the same again this year.”

The findings also indicate that nearly as many women (13%) are prepared to shop for presents on Christmas Day as men (18%) – going someway to dispel the notion that it’s only male shoppers who are prepared to leave it until the last minute.

Online retailers are eagerly expecting the traditional boost in revenues on ‘Black Monday’, the first Monday in December, but the Sky Broadband survey reveals that this year the contrary may be true, with 45% saying their budget will be the same as last year and a further 37% indicating they are going to spend less.

A significant number of cost-conscious consumers also said that they will be logging on during the festive season to buy second-hand presents (21%), research how much somebody else has spent on them (19%) and even sell unwanted gifts on eBay (30%).

Sky’s Director of Broadband and Telephony Delia Bushell said: “We might have expected that people go online to snap up bargains in the Christmas Day sales, but few might have believed that people are prepared to wait so long to buy presents. It just goes to show that money is going to be tighter than ever this year, and savvy online shoppers are prepared to explore every means possible to get the right gift.”

Overall, the survey shows that online shopping is now a serious option for the majority of consumers. Almost 40% of respondents said that they will do most of their present buying on the internet, while 32% stated that they will split their time between the web and the shops. Just 28% said that they still prefer the High Street.

In separate research commissioned by Sky Broadband through YouGov***, it was found that the most popular reasons for preferring to shop online include:

– It is easier to compare products and prices (cited by 72%)
– There are better bargains available online (63%)
– It is quicker to shop online (62%)
– You can avoid the crowds on the high street if you shop online (57%)
– You can avoid annoying salespeople (46%)
– The high street is no longer a pleasant place to be (37%)

Notes to editors
* Research conducted by OnePoll in December 2010 from a sample of 2,000 UK consumers
** Figures from the annual IMRG CapGemini e-Retail Sales Index
*** Research conducted by YouGov in 2010 from a sample of 5,200 UK shoppers

[1] Based on UK population age 15 and over, estimated at 51m