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Monday December 3 set to be the biggest cyber shopping day of 2012

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Monday December 3 will be the biggest online shopping day of the year, according to a prediction.

Marin Software says data from December 2011 suggests that Cyber Monday will fall on the first Monday in December – but warns that retailers should be prepared for other days in run-up to Christmas to be almost as busy.

Its analysis found that December 5 2011 was the biggest day of last year in terms of clicks on paid search ads. But that came only second to the paid search click volumes on December 12.

That suggests, says the digital ad management company, that December 10 will be the second biggest shopping day of the year.

“Online retailers will now be aware of the Cyber Monday effect,” said Jon Myers, commercial director, EMEA at Marin Software, “but this is just one day in an exceptionally busy time. With our research revealing that other days are almost as busy, we recommend that online retailers should expect December 3 to be their busiest day, but not solely plan around that. They need to ensure they have the same strategies and practices in place for December 10 and beyond. This year we could see the second Monday in December being the busiest shopping day for the first time and retailers need to be ready.”

However retailers should also be aware that in the US Cyber Monday will fall on November 26, says Marin. It says this date is increasingly important since large US retailers working in the UK roll their promotions and offers into the UK market on that day.

Retailers should also be aware of the importance of having their Christmas campaigns and promotions in place by November since many consumers carry out high levels of research during the month, says Marin. But it’s not till December that most make their purchase decisions.

Mobile strategies also come to the fore this year, since in December 2011 mobile devices accounted for 16% of paid search clicks. That’s well ahead of the 11% seen in October 2011.

“With the clear increase that comes in December, it’s critical for online marketers to evaluate their mobile strategy and ensure their budgets are adjusted and campaigns are optimized,” said Myers. “Advertisers who don’t optimise their mobile channel this year, won’t only miss out on mobile purchases, but may also miss out on driving footfall in-store as consumers search on the go, to purchase in-store.”

Our view: It’s never too early for retailers to start thinking about Christmas and it seems fairly settled that the first Monday of December is the busiest for online purchases. However, as became clear during the course of last December, there’s no longer an obvious single peak day as in years gone by. Rather, retailers must be prepared for a number of high-spending, high visitor days through the run-up to Christmas and beyond. And of course it always pays to factor in the unexpected. The biggest spending day of 2011, according to BT Expedite, was not Cyber Monday, or Boxing Day, but Strike Day – November 30 – when public sector workers around the UK took industrial action.

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