Shoppers are expected to turn out to buy across all channels over the coming Easter weekend.
PCA Predict forecasts that online transactions will rise by 17% over the three Easter trading days, with Easter Monday sales expected to be up by 20%. Almost half of all online sales are expected to be over mobile devices.
Chris Harle, chief operating officer at PCA Predict, said: “Traditionally, Bank Holiday Monday is one of the busiest days of the year for online shopping, and we are expecting this year to be no different.
“This year, we are expecting to see online transactions via mobile reaching an estimated 49% over Easter weekend. This is a 10% increase on the same time last year as shoppers become more accustomed to shopping on their mobile devices.
“With good weather in sight, it is likely that mobile shoppers will continue to make purchases out in the sunshine via smartphone or tablet. However, with British spring time such a difficult period to predict no one can say for definite whether April showers will encourage people to stay indoors. We are also likely to see consistent mobile usage throughout the day, including over the dinner table, with few dramatic spikes.”
Meanwhile, footfall specialist Springboard has forecast a 5.4% rise in UK retail footfall over the weekend, compared to the same week last year, with high streets set to benefit by 8.8%. That’s in contrast with last Easter, when footfall fell by 1.9%, year on year.
Springboard [IRDX VSPR] insights director, Diane Wehrle says its more postive forecast this year is influenced by the timing of national payday before Easter, mild spring weather and the continued trend for consumer spending on leisure and hospitality trips.
Diane says, “Last year Easter took place on March 25, a few days in advance of national payday for many shoppers. This combined with poor weather conditions, impacted footfall, which declined across retail destinations from Easter Saturday onwards.
“Mild spring weather is forecast for this Easter, which falls after the national payday. This strongly indicates that more shoppers will visit retail destinations over the weekend compared with last year; on Good Friday last year – the one day of the weekend with good weather – footfall on high streets increased +16.4% compared to Good Friday 2015.”
Ian Reynolds, chief executive of KBH On-Train Media, says that train users are likely a particularly receptive group of online shoppers this Easter.
“Overall, 1.73 billion passenger journeys were made in the UK in the 12 months to March 2017 (source: ORR). Rail users are a receptive group. Our research found that 67% of frequent rail users agree that shopping online makes their lives easier (Source: TGI Q1 2017). 90% of train users are using a smartphone during travel and a fifth have bought something from online retail sites whilst on the train (Source: Dipsticks).
“Advertising on the train journey, both within the train environment, and on a connected device, allows online retailers to own the journey. It can encourage passengers to buy, so enables online retail brands to make the most of such a captive audience over the Easter weekend.”
Meanwhile, network connectivity and managed hosting specialist Cogeco Peer 1, warned that 40% of UK retailers’ websites experience downtime during seasonal peaks, such as Easter.
Its survey 100 UK eCommerce decision makers also found 48% did not feel completely ready for seasonal peaks in website traffic, while 58% of UK retailers admitted they faced page speed issues during 2016 – 2017 seasonal peaks.
“Retailers and brands are facing considerable challenges when selling online: from how to compete with the likes of Amazon and how social media is transforming shopping; to harnessing the power of automation and maintaining a uniform, effective online presence 24/7,” said Susan Bowen, vice president and general manager, EMEA at Cogeco Peer 1. “The figures in the study highlight the need for UK retailers to act if they are to take full advantage of the revenue opportunities available during seasonal peak spending periods.”
The company says peak holiday times such as Easter, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Boxing Day sales represented over a £7 billion boom for the British economy in 2016 – and that making the most of seasonal peaks is often the difference between making the black and sinking into the red.
Alexandra Mocanu, partnerships account executive, at Adestra [IRDX VADE], says UK shoppers spent around £775m on Easter-related products last year – and that it’s important to ensure emails stay relevant. “As consumers, we have now come to expect our favourite brands to let us know of their most recent themed products or special offers during festive periods. This means that competition will be fierce so it’s important to have a plan of attack,” she said. “Be clear on your goals and balance timing, quantity and quality. Your previous Easter campaigns and your most successful overall campaigns should point out what works and what doesn’t for your audience.”