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Boxing Day and Mega Monday enjoyed biggest peaks in Christmas trading: figures

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Boxing Day sales grew sharply at Christmas 2012, while pre-Christmas sales peaked on Mondays in December, according to analysis from two ecommerce platform providers. Both sets of figures also underline the rising importance of mobile devices in shopping.

IBM’s Benchmark Christmas report, out this week, found Boxing Day sales grew by 45%, compared to the same time last year, with December sales as a whole growing by 16.4%, and peaking on the first two Mondays of the month.

The IBM report draws on the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark which analyses ecommerce transactions from 150 UK retailers. It found that ecommerce sales grew by 16.4% in December, with Mondays the biggest online shopping days. Monday November 26 saw the first peak of the Christmas shopping season, followed by a larger peak on the two first Mondays of December, which almost tied in size.

Meanwhile, BT Expedite and Fresca reported that online sales on its platform grew by 70% around Boxing Day and Mega Monday, December 3. Sales volumes grew by 17% throughout 2012, compared to the previous year, with December volumes up by 8.22% on the same month last year.

“Following the success of Mega Monday we had a very busy Christmas period where the Fresca Commerce platform handled 69% more orders from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day compared with the same period last year. November and December sales volume was up 1.49% on last year but December alone was up 8.22%,” said Richard Vining, BT Fresca’s head of FCP performance.

“It’s interesting to see just what a recent marketing phenomena Mega Monday in the UK and Cyber Monday in the US have been, with sales pre-2010 at the same time in December being five times lower.”

Outside the Christmas period, BT Fresca found, the next best performing ecommerce days were Leap Day, February 29, and the May bank holiday on May 29.

Almost a quarter of all Christmas traffic originated from mobile devices, the IBM figures found, with 24.2% of all retail site visits coming from a mobile device in December and hitting a high of 33.6% on Christmas Day.

Mobile devices accounted for 20.3% of sales in December, peaking at almost 30% on Christmas Day. Traffic specifically from an iPad tripled, growing by more than 200% in November. Showrooming appears to account for a significant proportion of the rise in mobile visits and sales. A recent IBM global study of 26,000 shoppers found nearly half of online purchases in the categories under observation came through the trend to see items in the shop and then buy them online.

“The report suggests that this was the year of the iPad, not just as a device for shopping and browsing retail websites but also as the gift of choice on Christmas Day, when iPad traffic hit its peak at 17 percent,” says Chris Withers, UK head of Smarter Commerce at IBM. “This provides another clear reminder to retailers of the need to optimise browsing experiences for mobile devices.”

The BT Fresca figures also showed a clear rise in the use of mobile devices, with orders placed on smartphones and tablets up by 125% during the Christmas shopping period. “It’s partly down to this increase in m-commerce that we also saw a growing trend in people shopping in the evening between 9pm and 10pm while watching TV,” said Vining.

However the BT figures also showed that while order volumes grew by 17%, and order values by 14%, the average value of orders was down by 3% compared to the previous year. This, suggested BT, reflected high levels of promotional activity and the greater number of value retailers moving online.

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