U.K. Online Holiday Sales to Surge, Merchant Systems Could Struggle

Dec. 22, 2010

Chase Paymentech Europe Limited, the European division of New Hampshire-based online transaction processor Chase Paymentech, predicts record breaking online sales during the holiday season in the U.K., but predicts significant downtime for merchant e-commerce systems. Independent research conducted for Chase Paymentech by Dynamic Markets found U.K. consumers will spend £11.5 billion ($17.8 billion) this Christmas—up nearly 30 percent from a year ago. The study also found the average merchant’s CNP payment system was down nearly 73 hours a year—worrisome for an industry that packs a quarter of its sales into the 10-week holiday period, the online processor said. “While there is a huge opportunity for merchants to grow revenues over the Christmas period, many are unprepared for the impact of the rush on backend systems,” said Shane Fitzpatrick, president and managing director, Chase Paymentech Europe Limited. “By the time a shopper reaches the payment stage of the buying process, they have already invested substantial time on a merchant’s website. If the payment process fails, not only will it impact the merchant’s bottom line but the consumer may choose to shop elsewhere, never to return.”