“Many industry observers consider ‘Cyber Monday’ to be the busiest day of the year for online retailers, but the Sunday before Cyber Monday is just as important in terms of Internet visits. Many consumers spend time browsing and comparing products and prices on the Sunday, before making their actual purchases on Cyber Monday itself,” commented Robin Goad, Research Director at Experian Hitwise. “This year, the pre-Christmas online shopping peak moved a week closer to Christmas – over the last couple of years it has been the last Sunday in November rather than the first Sunday or Monday in December. Bargain hunting will almost certainly played a role, with many consumers leaving it later to order in the hope of finding better deals.”
Department stores and supermarkets have been the biggest beneficiaries of the shift towards later online shopping this Christmas. Most of the top 10 websites that experienced the largest increases in visits when comparing this year’s peak in traffic (December 6th) to last year’s (November 30th) were either department stores or supermarkets. Amazon UK experienced the biggest increase in visitors between the two dates, and was joined in the top 10 by high street names including Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Littlewoods.
“The popularity of established names and stores with a high street presence the closer we get to Christmas clearly illustrates a preference for multiple delivery and dispatch options,” commented Goad. “For retailers to win trust at this time of year they must provide customers with both flexibility and security in this area”
Jonathan De Mello, Experian’s Director of Retail Consultancy adds: “Retailers have been determined to learn from mistakes made last year by investing in a more focused multi-channel strategy this year – offering both online and off-line order fulfilment. The more traditional bricks and mortar retailers have invested heavily in their websites and this has clearly paid off for them, as they have managed to substantially increase their online ‘share of wallet.’ This has been to the detriment of the high street, as according to the BRC November, like-for-like sales rose at a slower rate than anticipated and this is backed up by our own Experian FootFall data, which has recorded a drop in footfall on the high street this week versus the same week last year. This trend will reverse in the next few weeks as Christmas approaches, and those retailers with both a high street and online presence will benefit most because products from their stores can be ordered online and delivered to the location most convenient for the customer.”
Image: Harrods Source: Retail Bulletin