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Retailers prepare for Mega Monday 2011

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Retailers are gearing up for the next big day in the Christmas online shopping calendar. Mega Monday falls on Monday December 5 and is predicted to be one of the key dates in the seasonal gift-buying rush.

Figures from WorldPay show that last year’s peak online shopping day was November 29 and that on that date the volume e-sales rose by 24% compared to the previous day. Point-of-sale transactions also lifted by 25% that day and those in telephone and call centres by 173%. Online, the value of transactions was up by 46% and by 688% over the phone.

This year, it says, the predictions are that this coming Monday will be the peak spending day, making it 2011’s Mega Monday.

Gabriel Hopkins, head of ecommerce products at WorldPay said: “In the run up to Christmas we always see seasonal spikes in sales and when we look at last year’s figures, this was not consigned to one day.

“Ecommerce is set to be a key channel of sales for retailers this year but consumers will continue to shop in-store or using other channels. Consumers are going to be cautious in this economic climate but presents will still be bought and consumers will seek out bargains. Retailers need to be ready to capture their interest.”

But Mega Monday is just the latest in a series of key dates in the ecommerce run up to Christmas.

Black Friday (November 25) was a successful day for Amazon UK, according to Channel Advisor, which analysed its customers’ same-store sales on Amazon UK over the weekend and found sales spiked on Thursday and Black Friday, when they were up by 15.92% and 16.29% respectively. Cyber Monday (November 28) saw only a 0.72% lift by comparison, taking the five day lift, from Thursday to Monday to 6.94% in total. The company predicts that this coming Monday will be the busiest shopping day of the year in the UK.

Delivery service CollectPlus was warning retailers this week to be aware of Boomerang Thursday, the day that goods bought at the start of the shopping season start to be returned in large numbers. It said up to 2m parcels would be returned, 15% up on normal traffic.

Meanwhile, eBay, whose virtual QR emporium opened in London yesterday and will be open until Monday, has dubbed December 4 Super Sunday and expects its peak traffic over the course of the day.

But it looks like we could need a new name for Monday, December 12, which delivery management specialist MetaPack says could be the busiest shopping day this year – as online shoppers become more relaxed about delivery issues.

“We would even go so far to say that Monday 12 may be the highest shopping day,” said Patrick Wall, MetaPack founder and chief executive, adding: “This is positive news for the delivery industry showing the increasing confidence customers are placing in the couriers to get their Christmas purchases delivered to them on time.”

Meanwhile, online retail’s trade association IMRG has predicted £7.75bn will be spent online in the UK over the five shopping weeks of December. It says the first two weeks will see peak shopping, with £3.72bn spent in those weeks alone.

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