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Online sales set to top $14b

ONLINE sales are expected to reach A$14 billion worldwide just in time for Christmas.

In the US, a holiday shopping boom for Thanksgiving had both up and down sides.

On the up side, America Online reported that subscribers’ online spending almost tripled, with at least four million members making a transaction and 600,000 of these spending online for the first time.

Yahoo! also noted a 400 percent increase in transaction volumes.

On the down side, K-B Toys fumbled the holiday shopping rush, displaying for Australia some lessons on what not to do.

Traditional retailer Consolidated Stores’ share price fell 18 percent after its K-B Toys’ web site froze and turned off possible consumers.

One anonymous person placed a post on TheStreet.com’s bulletin board saying: “K-B Toys was the worst. It was slow and they sent me two of everything I ordered. In fact they apparently sent a lot of people two of everything.”

Goldman Sachs and research company PC Data released a report on 1 December, claiming that domestic online shopping totalled US$274 million in the week beginning 14 November.

Chief executive of www.consult Ramin Marzbani warns businesses that “consumers in the online world are a lot smarter and retaining them is costly, demanding and complicated.”

A www.consult study of 35,000 Australian Internet users shows concerns for Australia’s pure cybershops, as traditional retailers moving online offer more variety of product choice, better brand profiles and speedier fulfilment.

Dymocks claim its online book sales are double those of last year and expect sales in the weeks leading to Christmas to reach eight times the normal weekly rate.

Chaos music is hoping to reach a 50 percent growth this quarter compared to last year, offering 17,000 of its titles at prices cust by about $5.

Since its launch six weeks ago, the toyspot.com web site has

experienced a doubling of sales every week according its co-chief executive Justin Punch.

Wine Planet now has a total of 10,000 members and in the month prior to Christmas and the new year has seen $1 million in online sales.

Shop.org, the e-tailers trade organisation, expects that Internet spending will double this holiday season.

Figures from www.consult predict that Australia’s Internet spending will reach approximately $1 billion this year.

• Raphe Patmore is executive director of Q Multimedium.

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