December taking set to break through £10bn for first time as internet shopping accounts for largest ever share of all sales
UK retailers are looking forward to a jump in online shopping this Christmas as they battle for the custom of hard-pressed shoppers with deals and express delivery offers.
Online retail revenues will be up sharply on last Christmas and December takings will break though the £10bn barrier for the first time, according to industry group IMRG and consultants Capgemini.
A separate report from the British Retail Consortium suggests online trade rose to a record portion of all sales last month. The BRC’s monthly sales monitor with consultants KPMG said volumes were up 0.8% on a like-for-like basis from October 2012 as unseasonably warm weather saw clothing sales fall but gadgets, games and home accessories all enjoyed growth. That compared with an annual fall of 0.1% in October 2012.
Of last month’s sales, 18.3% were online, the highest proportion since the BRC’s records on internet shopping volumes began two years ago.
The BRC’s director general, Helen Dickinson, said: “It’s expected that many of us will ‘click into Christmas’ more than ever before this year, and retailers have invested significantly in user-friendly websites, fast deliveries and convenient ways of buying in-store, at home or on the move.”
The report from IMRG and Capgemini pointed to conversion rates – those people who buy online after browsing – reaching a five-year high of 5% in the run-up to this Christmas.
It forecast consumer spending with online retailers will reach £10.8bn in December.
The busiest day overall in terms of sales volume will be Monday 2 December although the peak day does vary by retailer, the report added. Department store chain John Lewis predicts the busiest day in the run-up to Christmas will be ‘Cyber Sunday’, 1 December, when shoppers, armed with one of the final pay packets of the year, will buy most of their presents.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said the latest signals on the rising conversion rate were promising for the industry.
“For the first time in three years we expect annual e-retail growth to exceed the level recorded in the previous year, with 2013 sales on target to achieve 15% growth on last year,” she said.
“Already we are seeing a number of retailers ramping up their online offering in the run-up to Christmas. Click and collect, next-day delivery and even one-hour delivery slots are just a few of the options on offer to attract the lucrative festive shopper at this highly competitive time of year.”
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