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Rachel Lear / Louise Mapp
Ascent PR
T: 0118 988 0501

Michael Phillips
T: 020 7700 3245


- CD sales decline this Christmas as we opt for downloads
- Internet users are clocking up the hours shopping online
- No escape from work, as most of us will be checking our emails over Christmas
- Silver surfers discard their Monopoly boards in favour of online games
- Sibling rivalry as the girls race to play online games first

With 90 per cent of Brits having a home broadband connection we are all set for a virtual Christmas this year, according to new research from, so don’t be surprised to see families glued to the computer screen while discovering empty stockings under the fireplace.

According to new research from, 46 per cent of consumers use the internet to download music, so it’s likely that this years’ CD Christmas album will be struck off the Christmas wish list, leaving our stockings looking more ‘virtual’ than ever before. Surprisingly research also found that more women then men use the internet to play games, so there could be sibling rivalry to download the latest game.

But there’s hope yet for Father Christmas to fill those stockings, as shoppers are set to spend more time than ever shopping online in the run up to Christmas. Internet users are spending on average some six to ten hours a week shopping online. The market share of visits to shopping websites has increased by 48 per cent since last December (source: IMRG).

And if you are one of the many shopping for gifts online, don’t expect to buy your grandparents the usual drab board game, or to see them participating in the traditional game of Scrabble or Monopoly, as 38 per cent of the over 65’s now spend time playing online games.

Michael Phillips, product director of commented, “With more of us downloading music and games during the Christmas period, consumers need to be aware of how much they are downloading, since even if they have an ‘unlimited’ broadband package it is still often capped by the service provider. Most companies who sell an ’unlimited‘ service also have a ‘fair usage policy’, which imposes limits on a user’s downloading of data, music, movies and photos etc.

“It may be a good idea to monitor your usage by downloading a usage meter (there is a free usage meter available on This will help ensure you don’t breach your limits.”

Michael Phillips, concluded, “However, if you are only checking e-mails, surfing the web and shopping on line then we would advise customers to switch to a ‘light user’ package since they will only be using a couple of gigabytes of data in a month and don’t need to over-spend on luxury unlimited packages.”

But the big question is: are we going to be able to escape the pressures of work this Christmas? Not a chance - also found that most of us will be spending around six to ten hours a week checking our emails – enough time to cook more than three Christmas roasts over the 12 days of Christmas7. A virtual Christmas we may all want to escape.

- Ends -

Notes to editor:

Overview of survey results (carried out by ICM research, December 2007) based on a survey of 1027 respondents:

1.46 per cent of respondents use the internet to download music / Figures compiled by the British Phonographic Industry (November 2007) back up this finding and show that 6.5m fewer albums have been sold this year compared with 2006. It has also found that the digital market continues to grow - with a 50% increase in digital single purchases in the first six months of 2007.

2.98 per cent of respondents use the internet to shop and bank online, of those the largest group, 27 per cent spend six to ten hours a week on the activity

3.100 per cent of respondents use the internet to check emails, of those the highest amount, 28 per cent spend six – ten hours on the activity

4.38 per cent of the over 65’s use the internet to play online game

5.54 per cent of women use the internet to play online games compared to 42 per cent of men

6.9 out of 10 Brits now have an internet connection at home (Source: Office of National Statistics - November 2007)

7.6 to 10 hours a week emailing = average of 8 hours a week = average of 1.14 hours a day = 13.7 hours in 12 days. Roast turkey cooking times based on a 4.5kg bird at 18 minutes per 450g with resting time. NB – cooking times may vary.

Top light user packages:

- PlusNet Option 1– 8Mb (1GB download limit) £9.99 per month (no set up fee and free 1 port router)

- Eclipse Option 1 – 8Mb (2GB download limit) £14.99 per month (1 month free if switching / free modem / excellent customer service)

- Tesco Broadband – Value – 512K (3GB download limit) £13.97 per month (free modem/set up)

Customers can monitor their usage by downloading a usage meter (there is a free usage meter available on

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