A leading online retail association has estimated that there will be a huge year-on-year growth in retail purchases made over the internet by UK consumers during the main Christmas holiday season.

The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) predicts that Christmas Day will see retail transactions by UK consumers totalling £186.4 million, a rise of 12% on the previous year.

The IMRG’s predicted figures for Boxing Day are even more breath-taking, with revenue from online retail sales expected to be almost double what it was on the same day in 2010 – an anticipated grand total of £367.8 million.

IMRG says that its predictions are largely based on three main factors.

Firstly, it argues, consumers are likely to be accessing the internet over Christmas anyway; specifically to send and receive Christmas greetings.

Secondly, it claims, there has been a recent concerted effort by online retailers to steer consumers to the web, using the incentive of possible stock shortages for those purchasers who delay too long.

The third reason given by IMRG for the expected rise in Christmas period online purchasing is simply the need or desire to buy items that action or complement newly received seasonal gifts:

‘Although shopping on Christmas day might not appear to quite be in the Christmas spirit’, explained IMRG’s chief marketing and communications officer, David Smith, ‘it is worth considering that many of these sales could actually be associated with popular gifts people have received, such as downloadable content for MP3 players and [Amazon] Kindles’.