As the countdown to Christmas begins, new research shows that online shopping is on the up - although many may be disappointed as shoppers fail to make alternative arrangements for gifts that don’t arrive on time.

New research polling UK shoppers on their plans for Christmas gift buying shows that there is a growing appetite for online commerce, with spending set to increase. Habits however – such as leaving it to the last minute – endure, whether shopping online or on the high street. New research released today by SaaS shipping, tracking and systems integration platform provider NetDespatch, provides a compelling snapshot of the Christmas gift-buying season to come.

“As ecommerce continues to expand, all sectors of the market need to better understand both consumer buying behaviour and delivery expectations,” said Becky Clark, CEO, NetDespatch. “Our research shows that the habits and expectations of UK shoppers are changing. Interestingly, the younger generation appears to be most organised with a quarter planning to start shopping as early as September. However, over a quarter of overall respondents said they intend to leave their shopping until as late as November and over one fifth don’t intend to start until December. Disappointment may be on the cards this Christmas if goods don’t arrive on time.”

The study, “Santa’s Using SaaS”, identified the following top online holiday shopping trends for 2014:

  • Internet shopping reigns – 88% of respondents are using the Internet for Christmas purchases
  • Hey big spender – 33% of respondents spent anywhere between £151 up to £500 on online shopping last Christmas and 37% expect to spend more this Christmas
  • Home rather than work – Over 85% of people who shop online would prefer home delivery, yet 75% work full time and 25% say missing a delivery is the most irritating thing about online shopping
  • Young people are more organised – 26% of 16-24 year olds plan to start Christmas shopping as early as September
  • Irritated consumers – The top three things that irritate consumers most about online shopping are: shipping costs (27%), missing a delivery (25%) and returning an item (14%)
  • Trust thy neighbour – Over two fifths (43%) stated that if they are not at home they would like their item to be left with the neighbour
  • A nation of book worms – Books are the most commonly purchased products (48%) followed by toys (40%) and technology (37%)
  • Prepare to be disappointed – Over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed who shop online said they wouldn’t make alternative arrangements for Christmas gifts that don’t arrive on time

“We know that online shopping provides a huge opportunity for retailers, but in order for consumers to remain happy with their online experiences, the order, despatch and delivery mechanisms have to be efficient, which is not always easy or straightforward,” said Clark, CEO, NetDespatch. “At NetDespatch, we optimise ecommerce and delivery processes, delivering efficiency improvements and savings to everyone in the supply chain from consumer to retailer through carrier to final delivery.”

To download a copy of the full report - please click here

To download the Infographic of the research - please click here