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Brits will spend £7.4 billion online this Christmas

17% won't shop online due to security concerns

Brits are planning to spend a whopping £7.4bn online this Christmas, says Symantec.

Research by the security firm, which was conducted by YouGov, revealed 18 percent of web users admit they plan to by more presents, food and decorations for the festive season online than the did last year.

Furthermore, nearly half (48 percent) said they expected to spend a similar amount to last year online, which was on average £234.16.

Symantec also said web users aged 25 to 34 were the most active online Christmas shoppers, with 85 percent planning to shop online and spend an average of £209.80. More than a quarter of web users aged between 25 and 34 also said expect to buy more online than they did in 2009.

The research also highlighted that men expect to spend more money online this Christmas than women, spending an average of £208.49 compared to £179.67.

However, 17 percent of web users claim security issues were holding them back from shopping online. ID theft was the most worrying security concern, cited by eight percent of web users holding back from shopping online. Not trusting the website where goods are being purchased from came second with four percent while becoming a victim of cybercrime and unwittingly downloading malware followed closely with three and one percent respectively.

Symantec said online retailers must enhance website security and create a trusted online environment so potential customers feel confident enough to give them their hard-earned cash this Christmas.

"British web users are ready to spend a huge amount of money this festive season and are rightly being cautious about shopping online.," added Michael Cunningham, security expert at Symantec.

"Fraudsters will be out in full force with so much to gain but by being aware and only shopping on trusted websites, consumers should still be able to benefit from the efficiency and cost benefits of shopping online."

Cunningham advised web users to opt for a credit card when paying, rather than a debit card, which is "a direct line to your bank accounts", as well as using storing passwords and looking for icons that show a website is secure, such as the VeriSign Trust Seal or the padlock symbol.

See also: Brits lose £697 each in online fraud

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