News & Views - Savantor

Online shopping success during December

Thursday, 09 January 2014
The busiest day in history for online retailers is reported to have taken place on the day after Boxing Day 2013. IMRG, the internet retailing association, reported that online retailers took a record £590 million pounds in sales, up 20% on last year. Figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that online shopping hit record levels in December 2013, with close to one-in-five non-food items being bought online. In fact, online trading represented 18.6% of total non-food sales during the month (up from 16.5% in December 2012), while overall the survey found there was a 19.2% growth in total internet purchases from a year earlier – the fastest increase in nearly four years. A number of factors can be seen to have had a direct influence on the success of online shopping over this period, which combined together account for the increase in growth. Whilst general acceptance of and familiarisation with online shopping plays a part, this will have been increased by the improved website offerings of Retailers as well as the improvement in delivery services for internet sales to those experienced a couple of years ago. There has been an explosion in the ownership of hand-held devices such as smartphones and tablets, particularly over the Christmas period as the result of gifts and this will also have added to the growth with people eager to try their new acquisitions. The recognition by Retailers that sales and discounts can be launched on non-shopping days, or days when shops were traditionally shut in previous times, adds to the attraction of shopping online over this period. In general the non-internet only Retailers who experienced the best sales figures this Christmas were those who have successfully married together the online shopping experience with their 'bricks and mortar' shops, using 'click and collect' services to offer next day availability of purchases. This year the appalling weather in many areas of the country will also have had an impact on people's activities and encouraged them to shop from the comfort of their homes instead of venturing out into the rain and gales. Once people have become comfortable with a new activity, they will do it again – and so it will be with online shopping. So we can expect to see actions that may have been new for some over the Christmas period to become established habits and fuel the progress of online shopping. It will be interesting to see if this increase in usage is reflected in other online services such as banking. It will also be interesting to see how fraud patterns are affected and the resulting impact upon fraud behaviour and losses.
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