2008's Christmas may see the faithful flocking to - ebay and online retail outlets rather than church; predicts a leading retail trade body. The results say that church attendance, again, will be low.
Online retail trade group IMRG says that about 5.24 million people will be logging on to shop for bargains over the Internet on Christmas Day.
AdvertisementIt reckons that a total of 104million pounds, averaging about 20 pounds per person, will be spent on online shopping this time.
On the other hand, an estimated 4.5 million people will be attending an Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist or Pentecostal church service on Christmas Day, according to the predictions.
Senior Church figures are reportedly unhappy with these calculations, and say that Christmas Day should be a day for people to think about their families, not about shopping.
"It does seem to me very sad that at the time when people should be focusing on relationships and family life, they get caught up in the chase for a bargain as if somehow this will bring them greater happiness," the Telegraph quoted the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, the Church of England's Bishop for Urban Life and Faith, as saying.
"I would have thought this is at least one day in the year when the focus should be on people, not goods," Lowe added.
For its calculations, IMRG analyzed the number of transactions that took place on December 25 last year-4.4 million people spent 84million pounds on the day.
With online retail sales running at 15 per cent up on last year - and even stronger in recent days, the trade body is confident more than 100million pounds will be spend this Christmas Day, with 5.24 million shoppers logging on.