December is a major month for shopping with many important dates and events to entice consumers to spend more for the festivities of Christmas. First there’s Black Friday then Cyber Monday, Manic Monday, Small Business Saturday and Boxing Day sales. It’s a crucial time and the prime opportunity to capture as much revenue as possible.
Christmas 2014 saw sales increase by 2.2 per cent from £72.7 billion in 2013 to £74.3 billion. This growth in Christmas spending was higher than any other European country only being surpassed by the U.S(1). Online retail spending accounted for almost one quarter of Christmas spending in 2014 with online sales rising from £14.93 billion to £17.37 billion, a growth of 19.5 per cent. The figures would‘ve probably been higher but after some retailers experienced difficulty on Black Friday, many shoppers may have preferred to go into a store. Below shows what consumers spent their money on.
Black Friday, the discount day imported from America saw sales shoot through the roof in 2014. As the busiest online shopping day ever, it generated £850 million in one day followed by £600 million on the following Monday known as Cyber Monday. This certainly got people spending but meant sales for December dipped as shoppers were looking for more discounts or had bought the majority of their spending forwards; e-retail during December only recorded a five per cent growth. The greatest concentration of sales during Christmas period 2014 took place during the week of Black Friday taking 17 per cent of sales(2); the first year Boxing Day wasn’t the biggest shopping day of the year. Many retailers were unable to cope and fulfil the unexpected surge in online orders with the largest courier firm announcing it would cease accepting deliveries for some time as it was failing to effectively cope.
There were 181 million visits to retail websites on Black Friday compared to 156 million on Boxing Day. £8 billion was spent via mobiles in Christmas 2014, that’s 55 per cent up from 2013’s figure of £5.1 billion. 37 per cent of online sales were made on a mobile device, an estimated 8.9 per cent of total retail.
Interestingly, the contrast between Black Friday shoppers and Boxing Day and New Years shoppers are quite different.