Online retailers put up an aggressive fight against the recession over the Christmas period according to the latest reports.
Data provided by Retail Decisions for IRMG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) reveals that Christmas Day sales are up 29% on last year to £132m with Boxing day drawing the biggest crowd with sales of £281m.
These results are supported by latest consumer insight research from leading online research specialist, eDigitalResearch, which found 75 per cent of respondents clicking online on Christmas Day or Boxing Day with 15 per cent placing an order online on Christmas Day and 23 per cent doing so on Boxing Day.
David Smith, Director of Operations at IMRG said:
“It appears that this Christmas we saw internet activity becoming part of most people’s routine, whether e-mailing friends, catching up on social network sites or surfing for bargains. Online retailers were able to benefit from this changing consumer behaviour by achieving record sales volumes with many sales and offers starting on Christmas Eve”.
Nor did the threat of adverse weather conditions and Royal Mail strike action deter people from placing orders in the last few weeks before Christmas, with the majority of deliveries arriving on-time.
As a result of this, 41.3% of people predict to spend more online next Christmas due to a positive online experience.
Commenting on the survey findings, Chris Russell, Director at eDigitalResearch, said:
“What differentiated this year from last was the fact that retailers offered much later order dates for Christmas deliveries. While last year many multi-channel retailers were still promoting click and collect, this year there was a significant increase in the number of sites that were using courier services to ensure that consumers could still place an order on 23rd December for delivery on Christmas Eve.”
Compounding this was the fact that sales were started by the pure players as soon as the last delivery day deadlines were reached.
A fact that, according to Chris Russell, was not lost on the consumer:
“People are now increasingly aware when the sales will be starting and so they use the internet to their advantage, identifying and searching out a bargain. Our research shows that 62 per cent of respondents were online on Christmas and Boxing Day searching for bargains. What’s really encouraging is the fact that Christmas 2010 looks like it will be even more prosperous for the online retailer.”
Carl Clump, CEO of Retail Decisions suggests that more people are lured online to bag the best bargains: "Online and high street retailers used every trick in the book as they competed for their share of the shoppers’ budgets. With slashed prices and ever-earlier sales promotions, UK consumers no longer need to wait for the formalities of Christmas to be over before seeking out the best bargains."
“According to our live estimates, consumers logged on early on the Boxing day to pick up the best bargains with sales up an estimated 94% by midday. However, sales slowed later in the day. Online stores like Comet, B&Q and John Lewis experienced early spending as internet sales were posted on Christmas Eve. In advance of the Boxing Day sales on the high street, consumers were lured online by special deals on the most popular products and the last opportunity to take advantage of VAT at 15%. On Christmas Eve, a day that’s traditionally quiet online, sales rose by an estimated 68% to £181 million."
Christmas 2009 retail update
Amazon said that it had a busy Christmas with 2 million orders delivered on its busiest day which was December 7. At its peak it said it was shipping over 1.2m units in just 24 hours.
eBay sees mobile purchases triple over Xmas: Mobile internet purchases on eBay tripled over the 2009 festive period compared to the same time last year.
The online auctioneer revealed that more consumers than ever bought gifts and other items via the site's iPhone App Store and other mobile internet applications.
Consumers purchased 1.5 million items on their mobile handsets during the Christmas period, which is equivalent to a sale every two seconds. In all, eBay mobile users generated more than $500 million in transactions during 2009.
John Lewis sees record start to online sale:
Online sales at John Lewis’ Clearance sale were up 23% in its first three days. The retailer experienced its busiest ever hour online when it launched the online Clearance at 6pm on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Day online shoppers made a purchase every 10 seconds, but the volume of sales dropped between 1pm and 4pm as people enjoyed their Christmas lunch.
On Boxing Day the retailer saw a record number of visitors to the web site, peaking between 11am and midday.
Marks & Spencer celebrates "good" Christmas:
Online sales at Marks & Spencer grew 32% in the 13 weeks to 26th December.
The retailer hailed Christmas trading a success after posting a 0.8% like-for-like sales growth over the festive period but warned that trading conditions during 2010 will remain challenging.
The retailer reported a 1.2% comparable sales rise in general merchandise and food sales advanced 0.4% in fourth quarter of 2009.
Next exceeds Christmas expectations:
Stronger than expected Christmas sales rounded off a strong second half for Next with like-for-like sales in the 22 weeks to Christmas Eve up 3.2%.
The retailer upgraded its full year profit forecast from £490m to £500m. Sales for its directory business grew 6.8% with total Next brand sales ahead 5.2% for the half.
Next added that it had entered its Sale with 12% less stock than last year and that clearance rates are in line with last year.
Record Xmas sales at Ocado:
Ocado has revealed sales soared 49% in the week leading up to Christmas, reaching £8.9 million, as the online grocer delivered 3.5 million items to 42,000 customers.
Like for like sales in the four weeks ending 26 December were up 30% from 2008, reaching £40.8 million.
The number of orders received rose 34.5% to 299,291 and the average customer spend was £136 during the four week period.
Shop Direct reports strong Christmas sales:
Shop Direct Group reports online sales increased 19% in the six week period to 1st January 2010.
Total sales for the period were up 6.3% compared to last year.
The retailer said online sales now account for 65% of all sales and it is well on track to achieve its online sales target of 70% by financial year 2010/2011.
One million customers visited Shop Direct web sites during the six week period.
The retailer saw significant growth of over 30% on electrical goods, driven by sales of iPods, laptops and games consoles.
All the group’s brands enjoyed a successful Christmas following a comprehensive multimedia campaign with customer traffic to Very.co.uk rising 31% and sales increasing by 26%.
In total, Shop Direct delivered almost 8 million items over the six-week Christmas period.
7 January 2010