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UK to lead online Christmas spending spree

The UK will account for 34% of Europe's £4.1bn online retail spending this year and the month of December will see almost 25% of all European online sales for the year.

A study from Forrester Research says the UK will account for £870m of the total £2.55bn European online spending for 2001. This will mark a 116% in year-on-year growth in the UK.

Online travel bookings will lead the way, according to Jaap Favier, research director at Forrester, with consumers spending 450m euros online in December.

"Electronics is the next strongest category, and European shoppers will spend 489 million euros on new PCs and other hardware, and 40.5m euros on consumer electronics like new DVD players," said Favier.

Internet usage in Europe has expanded rapidly since last Christmas. Between January and October 2001, 24% more Germans visited the Web, 31% more British people and 35% more French.

However, Forrester found few new Internet users would buy online this Christmas, with research showing only 12% of online users purchase online in their first six months.

Forrester warned that first-time online buyers have high expectations.On-time delivery is crucial, but most online retailers have only tested their processes with half of their December sales volume, said Forrester.

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