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How we’ll shop online this Christmas weekend

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With December 25 now within sight, the pre-Christmas rush is all but over online. Tesco has predicted today will be its busiest day of the year, while ShopperTrak expects that Christmas Eve footfall will be 3.5% down on last year. But when the shops close this Christmas Eve, shoppers will only be able to buy online until Boxing Day.

Amazon , for one, is expecting it to be a big one. The online retailer, ranked Elite in IRUK Top500 research, says Christmas Day sales have more than doubled over the last five years. It starts its end of year sale at a minute past midnight on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day itself it expects to see a rush of last-minute purchases, between midnight and 11am, as shoppers buy printable and email gift cards, peaking at 10am. From noon, it sees shoppers buying digital downloads, streaming music, TV and films, and buying new Kindle books for their newly-acquired tablets. From 7pm, families gather together to watch television online, while from 9pm shoppers start buying in earnest in the Christmas sales. Last year, Christmas Day sales peaked at 9.06pm on

“With the number of new devices under the tree, digital streaming and downloads are set to soar on Christmas Day,” said Jay Marine, vice president of Amazon Video EU. “The moment that people receive their new device, they want Kindle books to read, apps to play, music to listen to, and movies and TV shows to watch.”

IMRG has previously said that it expects Christmas Day sales to reach £805m, 10.1% up on the £7287m spent on the same day last year. Its figures, supported by data from SimilarWeb , showed that total spending would reach £984m, 15% up on Boxing Day 2015.

Justin Opie, managing director, IMRG, said: “It might not seem an obvious fixture in the retail calendar, but Christmas Day has actually become a fairly significant online shopping day in the UK. Whereas gifts were traditionally physical items, many people now receive gift cards which they can instantly redeem on the day to download the kinds of items that have become highly virtual – games, music, in-play app upgrades etc. Many retailers will also have set their post-Christmas sales campaigns live on their sites by then, which are very easy to browse using the kinds of devices many people have access to – smartphones, tablets etc – during a quiet digestive moment post-Christmas dinner perhaps.”

Commenting on the figures, Dom Joseph, chief executive and co-founder of search intelligence powered advertising business Captify, said: “With a record £805 million being spent on Christmas Day this year, consumers no longer want to wait for the ‘sales’ to officially start on Boxing Day. Shopping online on Christmas Day is now as traditional as a ham and turkey dinner in the UK.”

“Not only do British consumers love to shop on Christmas Day, but more and more are using their smartphones to search bargains online and make purchases. Last year and for the first time ever, over half of online sales were made through mobile devices. This Christmas will likely see record levels of shoppers using their mobiles as their preferred device for shopping.”

“Meanwhile, for online retailers they also have a distinct advantage on Christmas Day as all their high street competitors are shut. This actually gives them a great head start over their bricks and mortar rivals for the entire Christmas sales period.”

Facebook has also uncovered data into how its users behave over Christmas. It analysis found that Boxing Day, and its sales, start to draw attention on Facebook in the week running up to December 25, when 29% of interactions took place. However, 53% of interactions took place on the day itself – with a final 18% on December 27. Some 60% of Boxing Day retail conversions were driven by men aged 18 to 24. Facebook says Boxing Day was the biggest shopping day of the year for men overall.

Women came to the fore in the New Year, when they were responsible for 74% of the 36.6m interactions around New Year’s resolutions that took place on Facebook between December and January. Some 91% of these are positive: Facebook says this provides retailers with a big opportunity to tap into these good feelings. It identifies December 31 as a good day to talk about dresses: 72% of the 4.2m interactions on outfits took place on this day last year. Similarly detox came to the fore on January 4 (1.1m interactions, 76% female), financial planning on January 9 (biggest day of the year for this subject, 59% female) and credit cards on January 15 (biggest day of the year, 54% female, and 30% aged 18 to 24).

Martin Harbech, head of ecommerce and retail at Facebook and Instagram, said: “While Black Friday may now be front of mind in regards to festive shopping, late December and early January are also key periods according to the Global Ipsos Holiday Survey, commissioned by Facebook, which analysed trends on the social media site between December 2015 and January 2016].

“This is in fact the most engaged time of the year on our platform, with 28% more daily actions than the annual average. We hope that these new insights into how people are interacting with the platform during the festive season will help retailers target their Christmas campaigns and connect with more shoppers even more successfully this year.”

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