Dreaming of an eChristmas – IDC Covers Seasonal Spending on the Web in Europe

COPENHAGEN – DECEMBER 20, 2000 – While most of us dream of a white Christmas, European Web sellers dream of an eChristmas to reverse the recent bad fortunes of the industry. According to IDC, the odds seem good – Internet penetration and buying propensity are on the increase, and the holidays are an attractive sales window for merchants in many online categories.


IDC predicts European consumer Web spending will grow a modest 33% from 3Q to 3.92 billion euros in 4Q 2000. However, the four product categories with the most seasonal sales (books and magazines, music and video, sports toys and leisure, and appliances and electronics) will grow 81% between the two quarters.

"The dramatic shakeout among European Web sellers over the year has led to the whole industry being portrayed in a bad light by the press, which has damaged consumer confidence in the business model in general," said Christian Asmussen, research analyst with IDC's Internet and eCommerce Strategies research. "Business failures, rebrandings, acquisitions, and other restructuring can create a lot of uncertainty among consumers, and building relationships of trust, which is fundamental on the Web, takes time."

eChristmas Drivers and Inhibitors

·The convenience factor. A common theme in seasonal B2C advertising is the unpleasantness associated with Christmas shopping due to queuing and crowds. The time-saving capabilities and convenience factor of shopping online make it a good proposition.

·Value-add. Gift wrapping, exchange warranties, and delivery all add value to the online shopping experience at Christmas.

·Ease of use. Web sites, such as MSN, are offering search facilities allowing consumers to search for gifts by specifying the type of present or personality of the recipient, which helps alleviate the headache of buying gifts for someone else.

·Delivery. eTailers in the most season-intensive markets, such as toys, are more exposed to logistics problems than others with several U.S. merchants receiving fines from the Federal Trade Commission for late deliveries last year. However, etailers who promote their delivery capabilities, offer online order tracking, and deliver on time are well positioned to reap the rewards of an eChristmas.

European eChristmas 2000 (IDC #I36G) looks at the impact of seasonal spending on consumer ecommerce in Europe. This bulletin is available to purchase from your local IDC office.

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at emea.idc.com.

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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