Monday December 2 will be the busiest shopping day in the run up to Christmas 2013, the IMRG predicted today. That will kickstart two weeks of high sales in the run up to Christmas that will help take online sales to the month of December to £10.8bn, according to analysis of the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. That would be the first time UK sales have passed the £10bn mark in December.
The analysis also suggests that spending in the nine weeks covering November and December will hit £20.4bn. At the same time the IMRG forecasts average conversion rates will reach 5% in the fourth quarter, returning to levels last seen before the recession. That will mean building on conversion rates that have steadily increased over the first three quarters of the year.
High rates of spending in the run up to Christmas are forecast to mean overall online spending in the year grows by 15% during 2013, compared to the year before.
“For the first time in three years,” said Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, “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.
“The increase in the number of browsers that convert to buyers is also positive news for retailers as they gear up for the key festive trading period, with the average conversion rate expected to reach pre-recession levels during the fourth quarter.
“Already we are seeing a number of retailers ramping up their online offering in the run up to Christmas. Click & 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.”
Chris Webster, head of retail and technology at Capgemini, said the impact of mobile had been “very significant” in 2013. “This forecast,” he said, “is in direct response to the overwhelming growth we have seen in sales via tablets and smartphones over the last few years.
“The huge strides in technology and the improved mobile services from retailers, such as digital wallets, mobile coupons and location-based services, have all played a major role in driving growth through these channels. Improved mobile sites have made shopping on the move much easier, so we are also seeing an increase in click & collect services.”
He said the introduction of cheaper tablets such as Tesco’s Hudl and Argos’ My Tablet was likely to fuel still higher mobile growth in 2014.