Snow saps online buys over Yuletide -

Consumer confidence in the online market in the UK dropped over the Christmas period thanks to economic fears and gifts that did not arrive due to severe snow, according to a report by consumer research firm Intersperience.

£245 million ($382 million) less was spent over the holiday period in 2010 compared to 2009, with 40 percent of shoppers revealing that the weak economy has forced them to be more cautious with their spending.

Heavy snow brought many shoppers online, with a 35 percent increase in internet sales, but the majority of people encountered big problems with buying online that may make them think twice about it for Christmas 2011.

A whopping 68 percent of people experienced problems with purchasing things online, while one in six of the gifts people ordered online never arrived in time. A further 11 percent received the wrong items, further aggravating their online experience.

“The majority of those that went online looking for a bargain or to beat the snow had a problem of some kind,” said Paul Hudson, CEO of Intersperience. “Overall, online retailing failed to live up to people's expectations and the problems they faced receiving orders put them off further internet purchases.”

The result of this was a massive confidence drop, with 25 percent of people deciding to spend less online, which could have a big impact on sales next Christmas.