U.K. shoppers spent £5.46 billion ($8.80 billion) online in December, 17% more than a year ago, a U.K. trade group reports. The peak week for online Christmas shopping was the second week in December—one week later than in 2008.
Zak Stambor , Managing Editor
U.K. shoppers spent £5.46 billion ($8.80 billion) online in December, 17% more than a year ago, according to a report by the U.K.-based e-commerce trade group Interactive Media in Retail Group and technology consulting company Capgemini. For the year, online sales in the U.K. were up 14% over 2008.
At the same time that sales increased, the proportion of shoppers at a site who make a purchase went down. “A key trend highlighted by our index analysis is the 25% drop in conversion rates from 2008 to 2009,” says Jon Parry, principal retail consultant at Capgemini. “This is a clear reflection of the increased traffic using the Internet as a source of product information.”
The peak week for online Christmas shopping was the second week in December-one week later than in 2008. The trade group attributes later shopping to November’s postal strikes, shoppers holding out for bargains, increased confidence in delivery services and Christmas falling on a Friday. Some U.K. retailers also note that a major snowstorm late in the month drove shoppers online rather than to the store.
U.K. multichannel retailers experienced a significantly better holiday shopping season than web-only retailers-13% growth for chains versus 8% decline for web-only merchants. “This shows both the high value consumers place on a multichannel proposition, particularly when it comes to gift returns, and the trust advantage high street brands have if they can get their online proposition right,” Parry says.
Interestingly, web-only merchants were more successful at converting shoppers to buyers in December: web-only retailers’ average conversion rate was 6.25% compared to 5% for chains, the trade group reports.
Along with the trade group’s index, several retailers among the 100+ members of the association reported results: