With the festive season finally upon us and Christmas decorations cheerfully illuminating the streets of Britain, most of us will be making a start on that ever-growing Christmas shopping list. From warming slippers for granddad to the latest PS4 games for the children, craft ales for your in-laws and toys for the cats, it’s no surprise that winter is known in the retail sector as the ‘golden quarter’.
In recent years, braving the madness that breaks out on the UK’s high streets on Black Friday or trying to plan a day of Christmas shopping around our hectic social lives is becoming more of a turn off. So much so, in fact, that digital and marketing intelligence group eMarketer has predicted that UK Christmas ecommerce sales are expected to reach an all-time high at an estimated £16.9 billion this winter.
This figure is expected to represent around a fifth of the total Christmas retail sales this year – up from £14.65 billion which represented 17.8% of last year’s Christmas sales.
The rise of smartphone shopping
In their UK Christmas Season Retail Sales forecast, eMarketer claim that the increasing shift to buying through smartphones in the UK will play a major part in the ecommerce sales growth over November and December this year.
With smartphone technology advancing rapidly each year, it’s no surprise that UK consumer habits are also changing, with an increase in people buying through their smartphones.
eMarketer foresee that 36.4% of total retail ecommerce sales in the UK in 2016 will have been carried out via smartphone. But the report also predicts that by 2020 the balance will have shifted, with smartphones accounting for 52% of ecommerce sales.
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‘Embracing digital buying’
Commenting on eMarketer’s analysis of ecommerce trends and technological advancements, senior analyst Bill Fisher said: “Retail ecommerce sales during the festive season look set to shine this year, despite the wider economic conditions in the UK.
“This is in no small part due to a digitally advanced consumer, who has been quick to embrace digital buying and particularly smartphone buying. And during the Christmas shopping period, these digital habits become even more accentuated.”
Retail sales in the UK are overall expected to reach an enormous £83.22 billion during 2016’s festive shopping season, demonstrating an annual growth of 1.3%. While it might not sound like much, this small increase is an improvement on 2015, when Christmas season retail sales declined by 0.3%.
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