Many customers 'will buy Christmas presents online only days before the 25th' header image

When it comes to Christmas shopping, the internet has been a godsend. 

Rather than vainly fighting through the crowds a la Arnold Schwarzenegger in Jingle All the Way, you can simply order gifts for your loved ones from the comfort of your own home. But when will you choose to start ordering your presents?

A new survey from eDigitalResearch and IMRG has revealed 47 per cent of consumers will wait until there is less than a week to Christmas before they start buying gifts online. This is despite 53 per cent saying they would not feel comfortable that an order submitted after December 17th would arrive on time for the big day.

However, customers are becoming more confident about delivery times in the festive period. Some 47 per cent of online shoppers said they would be willing to risk placing an order with less than seven days to go until Christmas, which is up from 34 per cent when the same question was asked last year.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-Logistics at IMRG, stated: "The increase in the proportion of shoppers willing to place orders within a week of the big day is testimony to the confidence they now have in online delivery.

"As we enter the peak e-retail trading period, the percentage of orders delivered in the timescale promised is running at its highest level for two years."

Of the customers surveyed, 18 per cent said they have ordered something online in the past that did not arrive in time for Christmas. When asked who they blamed for this, 41 per cent said the responsibility was with the retailer, while Royal Mail and couriers were both held accountable by 14 per cent of respondents respectively.

According to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, online sales increased by seven per cent in September compared to the same month a year earlier. This is the second-slowest rate of growth ever recorded by the organisations and has been attributed to the warm weather experienced across much of the UK last month.