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Sweden's Web Users Shift More Holiday Spending Online

Overall, 81% of web users plan to buy as much or more online as in 2012

For most residents of Sweden, ecommerce is already an integral part of life. At the end of 2013, more than 82% of the population is online, and 76% of web users already buy on the internet, eMarketer estimates.

But there’s still room for the web to claim a larger share of holiday gift buying, according to PostNord’s "E-barometern Q3 2013," carried out in conjunction with Svensk Distanshandel (SDh) and HUI Research.

On average, web users polled by SDh and HUI in October said their total outlay on this year’s Christmas presents would be SEK2,188 ($323). Extrapolating from this sample, researchers suggested that SEK16 billion ($2.36 billion) will be spent on holiday gifts in 2013. Women planned to spend an average of SEK150 ($22) more than men. The highest average expenditure planned by any demographic segment was among adults ages 50 to 64, who predicted they’d pay out SEK2,534 ($374).

How much of this total will change hands on the internet? Last year, an estimated 40% of Sweden’s internet users bought Christmas gifts online, dispensing a total of SEK4.1 billion ($606 million), SDh and HUI reported. This year, a clear majority of respondents (62%) said they expected digital shopping to make up the same proportion of their total holiday purchasing as it did in 2012, while 19% said internet purchases would be a greater part of the total. Young adults ages 18 to 29 were most likely to say they’d buy a larger share of their presents online in 2013. The biggest reason for digital buying: convenience.

Most (71%) of those who intended to buy gifts online said they’d do less than half of their Christmas spending on the net, however. On balance, SDh and HUI estimated that nearly one quarter of all Christmas gifts would be purchased via the internet. But that projection could well be overturned by consumer behavior during November, December and January. A year ago, the proportion of consumers buying presents digitally turned out to be greater than web users themselves had foreseen; while four in 10 eventually bought gifts online, just 34% had planned to do so in October.

Seasonal buying will also contribute to a sizeable jump in Swedish ecommerce for the year as a whole, SDh and HUI concluded. They forecast that 2013 online sales would reach SEK37.3 billion ($5.5 billion), a gain of 18% compared with 2012.

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