RealTime IT News

Internet Is Catching Up With Mail Order, Says U.K. Post Office

[London, ENGLAND] According to a recent survey by The Post Office in the U.K., the Internet is beginning to rival traditional mail order for people who like to shop from home for their Christmas presents.

When questioned, 11 percent of people said they would surf the Web for presents, while 35 percent will use mail order catalogues. The gap is still there, but is narrower than the experts anticipated.

"The results of this survey show that shopping for presents that are delivered by Royal Mail or Parcelforce Worldwide, either by mail order catalogue or the Internet, will be a popular way to fill the nation's Christmas stocking this year," said Post Office Marketing Manager Nigel Moore.

Much attention was given in the U.K. recently to a poll which discovered that many people find Christmas shopping more stressful than moving house or getting divorced. The online shopping option could be one way of avoiding stress, especially if buyers allow plenty of time for delivery of the goods.

Parcelforce Worldwide will deliver no less than 13 million parcels in the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day.

Although most of the items sent will have been purchased from High Street stores, many will have originated from new media transactions. Apart from the Internet, there is interactive TV and the home shopping channels which look set to capture seven percent of the market this year.

The Post Office's survey has bad news for the promoters of shopping by WAP phone. Out of all the items sent, only half a percent will have been purchased by WAP phone, if people have responded correctly.

The Post Office says that taken altogether, with other forms of mail order accounting for a further six percent, sixty percent of those questioned will be shopping from home this year.

It all means fewer trips to the stores -- good news for the environment, but a warning to retailers who do not yet have a presence online (or at least some Christmas presents online).