Christmas sales across Europe are tipped to grow by 18.4 per cent. Online retailers in UK can expect to see Christmas sales grow by 16.2 per cent in 2015 with total online sales for the year set to reach £52.25 billion accounting for 15.2 per cent of consumer retail sales (1). In the UK, online shoppers are expected to splash out £1,174 online per person in 2015 growing by 9.6 per cent compared to 2014 (2).
Due to increased consumer awareness of discounting around pre-Christmas shopping dates, predictions are that this retail season will rapidly surpass 2014. Below are spending predictions for 2015.
It’s predicted that Black Friday sales will rise by almost a third this year to have the UK’s first ever £1 billion online shopping in one single day (3). Last year, shoppers spent £810m on Black Friday making it the UK’s biggest online spending day yet lifting the overall sales in November 2014 by 37 per cent compared to 2013. The day is also remembered for its stock shortages, long queues and the flooding of website traffic along with logistics delays.
Digital commerce consultants Salmon offers a word of warning to online retailers that last year the increased traffic caused a number of issues on more popular websites. This included site outages, decreased browsing speeds and users’ queuing on holding pages that led to many frustrations and some buyers even abandoning their purchases. 65 per cent of shoppers agreed or strongly agreed that retailers were not well prepared enough to cope with the demands (4).
This year the Christmas period will again be defined by the importance of getting logistics and operational excellence right. To aid the success of this, there must be a sharp increase in the number of staff being employed over this period to deal with sales and processing of delivery. Some companies have even developed their own delivery systems and taken on additional drivers so as not to be caught up with the backlog of post. But it’s not just Black Friday that retailers should focus on; a second peak in online shopping occurred two weeks after Cyber week in December 2014, with online conversion rates 74 per cent higher than the average. This may be because shoppers are now much more focused nearer to Christmas having researched and shopped around. The two particularly busy times in 2014 were 7am to 10am on Black Friday, and 7pm to 10pm on Cyber Monday (5).