Dec
11
2013

Cyber Monday eclipsed in new shopping trend

Traditional shopping patterns were disrupted this week with the emergence of a new peak in online shopping which we have decided to coin “Middle Cyber Monday”. For the first time ever, the second Monday of December 2013 (9 December) outperformed the first Monday of December 2013 (2 December “Cyber Monday”) in terms of online retail visits.

UK Internet users made an astonishing 120 million visits to online retail websites on Monday 9 December, setting a new retail record and eclipsing this year’s Cyber Monday performance by 3.6%. Consumers also spent a record 16 million hours shopping online on Monday, 700,000 more hours than on 2 December 2013.

Middle Cyber Monday visits

Last year the second Monday of December (10 December 2012) achieved 108 million visits, meaning this year’s performance of 120 million visits represents a huge 10.5% year-on-year growth.

 

Changing shopping trends

As we predicted, changing consumer behaviour has had a big impact on key retail shopping days online. As technology has made it easier for consumers to shop on the go, we’re seeing the consistent trends of the last five years go out the window, and new trends emerge which reflect the flexibility of consumers being able to shop, where, when and how they want.

People certainly feel confident that they can leave their online shopping until quite late in December and retailers will still be able to deliver gifts before Christmas. With some retailers guaranteeing delivery of orders placed as late as 23 December, consumers have much less pressure than in previous years to get their online orders in early.

More generally though, online shopping is being spread out over the Christmas period as a whole. Early shoppers were taking advantage of discount deals on Black Friday, and mid-week shopping on Thursdays and Fridays is becoming much more significant this year. Tuesday 3 December was the most prolific Tuesday of online shopping ever, which simply would not have happened two or three years ago.

Shoppers have the freedom to shop when it suits them, and this is reflected in the continued spikes of online activity, which we fully expect to continue in the run up to Christmas.

 

How will this affect Boxing Day shopping?

With all of this disruption to the traditional shopping patterns this is a very exciting but very unpredictable time for the retail industry. With so much new ground being broken it’s difficult to say what is going to happen on the crucial sales period around Boxing Day. For the past five years, Boxing Day has been the single biggest shopping day of the year, and that could still be the case, but in a year of such flux it’s entirely possible that Boxing Day will not be the record breaker we have come to expect.

Online retail has been consistently bigger this year than last year, so it’s safe to assume that Boxing Day will surpass the 113 million visits it saw in December 2012. Apart from the sales, two of the big reasons for people to shop online on Boxing Day are to redeem gift vouchers and to organise returns for unwanted gifts. As more of the UK’s shopping is conducted online, it’s likely that there will be increased visits to retail sites on Boxing Day to either purchase new items or exchange unwanted ones.

However, one trend we saw last year was that consumers were spending more time shopping on Christmas Day itself rather than waiting till Boxing Day. With the rise of the “Always On” consumer who can transact online at any time, Boxing Day may well be muted this year in place of increased interactions on Christmas Day.

 

The rules are changing for marketers

All of this means that the rules are changing in retail. Previously well-established trends are now in tatters and marketers will have to adapt to the new online landscape. Through understanding the ways customers are changing their online interactions, marketers can evolve their digital strategies to match consumer expectations and be there at the right time, with the right message.

 


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