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Confident retailers expect tablet to dominate as shoppers spend more this Christmas


Confident retailers looking forward to a multichannel Christmas predict the tablet will be the fastest-growing sales channel, a new study has found.
Some 70% of UK retailers are feeling more upbeat than they did last year about their prospects this Christmas, according to Barclays’ Christmas Countdown Survey 2014. Retail analysts Conlumino questioned 300 multichannel UK retailers for the study, commissioned by Barclays’ retail and wholesale banking team, and found 35% expected the tablet to be their fastest-growing sales channel. The smartphone and the store were each nominated by 19% of traders as likely to see the strongest growth.

Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said 2014 had been a good year for many as a result of growing consumer confidence. “This is clearly reflected in their brighter outlook for the Christmas season,” he said. “It’s interesting to see that purchases on tablets have been cited as retailers’ biggest opportunity for growth and social commerce is also one to watch in the future as ‘buy buttons’ on social networking sites will make online shopping even more accessible.”

Retailers are also planning a calendar of festive discounting to encourage pre-Christmas spending. Traditionally American shopping days are now firmly ensconced on the list, with some 65% planning Black Friday promotions on November 28, the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally a key pre-Christmas shopping day in the US. Mega Monday, the first Monday in December, has proved a key peak shopping date in recent years and this year it falls in the same weekend as Black Friday. Some 96% of traders said they expected traffic to increase to their site on that date, compared to the same time last year. On Christmas Day itself, 99% expect to see a rise in traffic to their sites, with shopping time predicted for between 8pm and 10pm.

“The UK hasn’t seen Black Friday and Mega Monday fall on the same weekend since 2008, so retailers will be pulling out all the stops to make it a great shopping experience with some dazzling offers.

“However, some consumers will opt to leave their Christmas shopping later than this, thanks to improved delivery and Click and Collect options.”

Some 51% of those questioned forecast practical gifts would be the most popular type of present given, but 37% said shoppers would opt for frivolous or fun presents, and 12% said they would buy a few expensive luxury goods instead.

The study follows hard on the heels of figures from eBay [irdx reby], which predicts UK sellers will make exports worth £153m over this Christmas, with the last week of October marking the start of the ‘export window’. Among the most keen to buy are shoppers from the US, Australia, Italy, France and Germany, while sellers could make an average £765 each from international sales.

Murray Lambell, director of international trade, eBay in the UK, said: “Cross border trade on is expected to grow from £127m last Christmas to £153m this year, representing a massive economic opportunity for the UK. British businesses should ensure they are ready from the end of October to take full advantage of the Christmas ‘export window’ and the significant global demand for UK brands and products. With the ability to reach over 152 million shoppers around the world 24/7, there is no better time than now to gear up for international market.”

eBay this week announced it would open a new German fulfillment centre, in Halle, north of Leipzig, in the second quarter of 2015.

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