Online shoppers set to break new holiday records
The Christmas lights are shining bright in the shopping districts of central Stockholm. But this year, many people will be heading to their local post office instead of the stores, as the country's e-commerce is expected to break new holiday records.
Marie Gustafsson, who's shipping a large pile of company christmas gifts, says she buys most of her presents online.
"I actually like online retailing, because it's actually much easier than being out in the stores with everyone else Before Christmas
Peter Waalquist is queuing to pick up a package from London. He spends a lot of time browsing for vintage pieces on the internet and probably buys more things on ebay than the average person. But not necessarily Christmas gifts.
"I have a store, so I buy lots of stuff on E-bay and various auction sites. When I buy gifts I prefer to go to tiny vintage stores to buy quality stuff," he says.
Ludvig Lindström, has a different approach. He compares prices online and then buys the things he wants in stores.
Marie, Peter and Ludvig are not the only ones to take their business online. Four out of ten consumers say they are going to do most of their Christmas shopping on the internet, to the tune of around 4.3 billion kronor.
In total Christmas sales are expected to amount to around 68 billion kronor this year, with the average Swede spending about 1,400 kronor per person on gifts.
That's according to a survey by logistics' company PostNord. Arne Andersson, who's the company's expert in e-commerce expert, says they are expecting a 20 percent increase in online sales over the holidays. So they have prepared for the onslaught by hiring 2,000 extra staff, including drivers and sorting personnel, and opening 50 extra service points.
Books, toys and games make up the bulk of the sales, Andersson says. In fact onlines sales of books and toys have increased so much that traditional stores are struggling to survive. And the holiday shopping is so important for stores that it can essentially make the difference between red and black figures for the whole year.
But as consumers have grown more comfortable with the idea, many now buy everything from their vitamins to their tv:s and furniture online.
For people like Mark Komarov, the holiday season is anything but peaceful. In the week leading up to Christmas, the work load has tripled at the postal service point where he works. "It's tough work," he says.
But would he buy gifts online himself? "I'd never do that," he laughs. "I wouldn't subject anyone to this."