Strong Christmas sales forecast as mobile drives online growth

ghk-blog-sale-locator-300Online sales are expected to reach a bumper £10.8 billion during December according to etail industry watchdog IMRG and consultants Capgemini. This means that sales are on target to reach 15% growth over the same time last year.

The first two weeks of December are expected to see a peak in online shopping, with Monday 2nd December forecast to be the busiest day for sales volumes. The last nine weeks of 2013 could bring in up to £20.4bn for the nation’s etailers.

This is the first time in three years that annual etail growth is expected to exceed the level recorded in the previous year, largely thanks to a huge upswing in mobile commerce and a significant increase in the number of internet browsers that convert to buyers.  Mobile now accounts for all online growth.

The positive news follows a period that saw the strongest online sales growth (13%) in 13 years between August and September. On the other hand the first negative online growth ever recorded was between June and July (-2%), heavily influenced by the prolonged heat-wave in the UK.

Overall the Index was up 20% year-on-year in September, as online sales continue to rise ahead of expectation, driven by the increasing use of mobile devices as part of the purchase journey. A quarter of mobile device sales (23%) were through smartphones in September.

Chris Webster, VP, Head of Retail Consulting and Technology at Capgemini: “This month’s Index is a good indicator that we are headed towards economic recovery, and a great sign for a strong Christmas. The fact that e-retail has seen its sharpest period of growth for September suggests that consumers are shopping with confidence. In addition, September’s three year high in the average clothing basket value is a clear sign that retailers are selling through at full price, giving even more confidence to the economic recovery.”

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG said: “Smartphone year-on-year sales growth [reached] an impressive 150%, it is evident that shoppers are becoming more comfortable with shopping via their mobile devices.” 23% of all online retail sales were from mobile devices in Q2 2013.

The mobile revolution marks a significant change in consumer behaviour as UK online shoppers migrate from desktops and laptop computers to smartphones and tablet devices. Shoppers are becoming increasingly confident in m-retail, particularly as retailers improve their mobile sites and user experience. Smartphones and tablets offer the kind of experience the modern consumer wants – quick access, wherever and whenever they want it.

Chris Webster, said: “The fact that more people are using mobile devices reflects the huge strides retailers have made in user experience and accessibility in m-retail sites. However, we are still only scratching the surface of they ways we will use mobile devices to interact with digital services in our daily lives. Finger print identification available on the latest smartphones will increase trust and personalisation of these digital services.”