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Wills and Kate spark online spending

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Royal Wedding fever is growing to a peak, according to online retailer eBay which reports a sharp rise in sales of Prince William memorabilia and street party bunting.

The online marketplace says that sales of items relating to the heir to the throne have risen by 12,491% as the big day approaches, compared to the same time last year. Overall sales in the eBay ‘royal’ category are up by 132%.

Meanwhile it seems the nation is also preparing to celebrate with a street party. Sales of bunting are up by 168%, while flag sales are up by 32%: says it is currently selling a Union Jack item every two minutes.

Meanwhile, others seem to be catching the wedding bug. Engagement ring sales were up by 20% in the past month on eBay, compared to last year. Research from Experian Hitwise published last week showed that of all the searches conducted by UK internet users in the previous four weeks, 18.95% of those that contained the word ‘wedding’ also contained the word ‘royal’.

eBay spokesperson Ruth Szyszkowski said “The Royal Wedding has been a great boost for the retail sector, and we’re sure the Prime Minister will be pleased to see that Brits are stocking up on bunting, flags, and all things British to make April 29th a real day of celebration for all to remember for a long time to come.”

After the announcement of the Royal Wedding, last autumn, shopping comparison site Kelkoo predicted the nuptials would mean a shopping bonanza worth £515.5m for the UK, of which £76.9m, or 14.9%, would be spent online. Food and drink were expected to generate the highest expenditure, followed by sales of souvenirs, memorabilia and wedding-related merchandise.

eBay today announced a 16% rise in revenue to $2.5bn (£1.5bn) for the first quarter of its financial year. The company said its user numbers in the UK grew as global active users rose by 5%, year on year, to 95.9m.

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