Virtual Pavements Crammed for Busiest Online Shopping Day of 2008

27 items per second expected to sell on during Sunday 7 December

The number of cash-strapped shoppers going online to save on their Christmas shopping is expected to peak on Sunday 7th December - the busiest online shopping day of 2008 according to eBay UK.

The UK's number one ecommerce site expects its highest footfall of the year on Sunday 7 December 2008, with almost 4.5 million visitors to predicted to buy over one million Christmas gifts. The first Sunday of December 2008 is expected to see 27 items sell on every second.

IMRG figures suggest that 77% of people plan to do at least half their shopping online – up from 56% last year – as they seek out the best prices. They predict overall online spending to top £13 billion in the run up to Christmas 2008.

No compromise Christmas

“Despite the economic climate, this is a ‘no compromise Christmas’ for many shoppers,” explains Richard Kanareck from eBay in the UK. “The average Brit is planning to spend £23 per gift, compared to £ 28 in 2007[1]. Savvy shoppers are buying those gifts online because they know there are big savings to be had without compromising on gift quality. Across these savings average out at 25% on brand new, like for like items compared to the high street.[2]

Online entrepreneurs like John Pemberton, who sells designer menswear on his eBay shop Give Me Designer Clothes, are making the most of the growing numbers of deal-hunters who are shopping online this Christmas.

Pemberton commented: “My sales are up 120 per cent year on year and around 15 per cent month on month. In the run up to Christmas, sales are soaring and I’m expecting to turnover £20-25K for the month of December. I can sell a tuxedo suit complete with shirt, bow tie and shoes for £119.95; the suit alone would cost £199 in the shops.”

Royal Mail’s busiest period

The surge in online shopping will also contribute to the busiest period of the year for Royal Mail postmen and women in sorting offices up and down the UK, as they gear up to handle over two billion items in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, and over 120 million on any given day.

To mark the busiest shopping period of the year, eBay is bringing a special delivery to 500 postmen and women at a London mail centre with the serving of a hearty breakfast to say thank you to those delivering bumper numbers of mail in the lead up to Christmas.

Paul Tolhurst, Royal Mail Director, said “We are delighted that eBay is recognising the hard work and dedication of all our people this Christmas, at what is an exciting time for both our businesses. We urge buyers to keep the last posting dates in mind and include the correct addressing information, to ensure their delivery arrives safely and quickly.”

Hot gifts for Christmas 2008

eBay is seeing strong online sales in the technology, home & garden, toys and clothing categories in the run up to Christmas. In the technology space, multimedia phone sales are increasing, with the Nokia N96 challenging the ever-popular iPhone. While in the home & garden category, cocktail shakers, traditional board games and coffee makers are doing brisk business.

[1] YouGov research, November 2008
[2] Frontiers Economics research, September 2008


Notes to Editors:

Notes to editors Royal Mail recommended UK last posting dates: Tuesday 23 December UK Special Delivery Saturday 20 December 1st Class (UK) Thursday 18 December 2nd Class (UK)