According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the strong growth in online shopping prevented retail sales from falling in December.
This was the result of a massive 17.8% jump in online non-food sales, without which total sales would have fallen.
This surge in online shopping is thought to be due to a combination of the increased effort of many retailers to make their websites easier to find through competitive search engine optimisation, easier to use across all platforms through conversion rate optimisation and UX optimisation as well as the massive increase in popularity of tablets and smartphones.
It is thought that department stores, such as John Lewis and House of Fraser, have benefited most from the boost in online shopping due to their wide range of products ‘under one roof’, and the advent of click and collect services having further increased the convenience of online shopping for the consumer.
Earlier Christmas Sales
Most online retailers attempted to differentiate themselves from their competitors by bringing the start of their Christmas sales forward, with some starting as early as December 23rd. Amazingly, it is estimated that there were around 82 million visits to web stores on Christmas Day this year and around 126 million visits on Boxing Day.
Internet retail behemoth Amazon scheduled their Christmas sale to start on Christmas morning, in the hope that they could capitalise on the fact that millions of tablets and smartphones will have been opened on Christmas Day.
Surprisingly, Amazon now sees Christmas Day as the biggest day of the year for MP3 and Kindle downloads, as millions of people begin buying content for their new devices. However, it isn’t just the digital devices that benefited on Christmas Day; everything from jewellery to outdoor goods also saw a rapid increase in online sales.
According to a recent study by telecoms and broadband regulator Ofcom, Britain leads the field in online shopping. Britons are now classed as the most avid internet shoppers in the world, and an average UK resident will spend over £1,000 shopping online every year, which is more than in any other country.
For this reason alone, it is imperative that businesses achieve maximum exposure online as the death of high street businesses such as HMV continue to draw ever closer.