Record e-Christmas on Tap in Britain

Online retailers are looking at a very happy holiday season and the Royal Mail is working with them to ensure the gifts are delivered

Royal Mail expects to deliver around 100 million Christmas presents bought online between now and 23 December - that's 30 million more than in 2005.

And incredibly, in the UK more than £4m will be spent online each hour on presents in the run-up to Christmas.

Even though there have been warnings that many orders placed over the next few weeks won't be fulfilled consumers aren't being put off and total spending in the 10 weeks prior to the big day is predicted to hit £7bn.

Catherine Campbell, head of multi-channel retail at Royal Mail, said the Post Office is working with online retailers to provide "a high level of service to their customers" so "they have an enjoyable online shopping experience".

Despite this rise in spending, research has found there is still room for improvement for e-tailers to deliver better customer service.

By buying goods and testing various customer requirements for 28 of the top UK online shops, researchers found that deliveries remain hit and miss, while return procedures could be improved.

A spokesman for e-tail consultant Blast Radius, which commissioned the research, said the study shows investment by online retailers focuses on "what they care about most: securing the sale". He said this is at odds with what customers focus on, namely what happens after they have made a purchase.

The top five e-tailers to emerge from the research are Amazon UK, Dell, Apple, Next and Comet.

Separate research out recently found that 50 per cent of UK adults now shop online but 43 per cent are put off by concerns over security.