Savvy Christmas shoppers expected to drive online sales

16 Nov 2009

Online payments firm 3V Transaction Services expects a 40pc increase in online shopping this Christmas based on the overall increase in customers for its online prepaid VISA voucher throughout 2009.

With a 45pc increase in the volume of 3V vouchers being purchased throughout the year, the company said that finding value while shopping for Christmas presents is likely to drive this estimated 40pc increase in sales/purchases by people shopping online this Christmas.

Average spending decreases

However, from a recent survey, 3V has found that while the web is clearly a destination for bargain hunting consumers, the average spending is actually decreasing; it has gone from €36 to €32 in 2009, which doesn’t necessarily mean that Irish shoppers are buying less goods online but are likely finding better deals.

Interestingly, 3V found that young single men, typically between 18-34 years of age, account for almost two-thirds of their customer base, meaning other demographics are less likely to opt for pre-paid VISA vouchers while shopping online.

Analysing the data from this customer research, 3V said it is pointing to an earlier shopping season, where consumers are possibly spreading the cost of Christmas spending by starting shopping in November than the typical early December.

“All the research points to a shift in online consumer patterns this year,” said Kieron Guilfoyle, CEO, 3V Transaction Services Ltd.

“Already for October we recorded a doubling in the growth of voucher sales in comparison to 2008, and this, coupled with the impending budget and the likely impact on consumers’ spending power leads us to believe that the online spending high for 2009 will be reached towards the end of November.”

Impact of recession

The recession has a significant part to play in this combination of lower average online spend and increase in the purchase of vouchers.

“Given the dramatic shift in the economic environment over the last 18 months, every consumer has been forced to review their own individual spending habits,” said Guilfoyle.

“This significant growth in volume of online sales comes as no surprise to us at 3V, as it is the sensible option for Irish consumers who are looking to see their euro go further. The 3V voucher offers consumers the option to forego the dangers of using a credit card. The advantages of controlled spend and online security has resulted in more and more Irish people moving to 3V vouchers as their payment option of choice.”

By Marie Boran

Photo: In analysing data from customer research, 3V has found that consumers are spreading out the costs associated with Christmas shopping by beginning to buy gifts in November, rather than the typical early December starting time.