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UK consumers search out bargains in early retail sales as e-commerce traffic spikes on Boxing Day

Christmas retail graphic UK consumers search out bargains in early retail sales as e-commerce traffic spikes on Boxing Day


After many multichannel retailers started their sales online this Christmas Day, a record number of consumers have been surfing the web for bargains according to the latest figures.


The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark found UK online Boxing Day sales increased by almost half (44.95%) compared to the same day in 2011.


The number of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site reached 30.7%, up from 19.8% on the same day last year. And those using their mobile device to make a purchase increased to 24.7%, up from 15.9% percent.


Retail benefits from the iPad Factor


In line with current m-commerce trends, the IBM Benchmark confirmed the iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone, accounting for 15.8% of online shopping or an increase of 109% over 2011 Boxing Day traffic on. This was followed by iPhone at 8.6% and Android 6.2%.


Based on updated findings from the raw data of 150 retailers in the UK using IBM’s analytics platform that tracks e-commerce transaction, shoppers referred from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated 0.19% of all online sales.


“These figures don’t come as a surprise,” said Chris Withers, IBM head of Smarter Commerce UK. “Retailers started their promotions early this year, but shoppers have still been holding out for the best prices around and after Christmas. Going online is one way of ensuring they get these deals.”


He continued: “The combination of an increase in use of smartphones and tablets, better retail websites, and devices such as the iPad being top of most gift lists this year has created a perfect storm of factors for healthy Boxing Day online trading. Retailers now need to ensure they keep on providing the best customer service possible across all of the places their customers shop.”


Record-breaking mobile opportunity


One retailer that has capitalised on the unprecedented seasonal rush for bargains is Chris Thomas, chief executive and founder of the UK’s largest independent shoe retailer, reported: “Christmas Day itself and Boxing Day broke all records, in terms of visitor numbers and sales as people took advantage of aggressive discounting available across all big brand names.”


Thomas commented on data released by Experian that shows visits to websites peaked at 107 million visits on Christmas Day, up a record-breaking 86% from the previous year.


“Our busiest days of the year were Christmas and Boxing Day, when we experienced a record level of visitors and sales through handheld devices,” he added. “We have seen an increase of 1000% compared to last year. Consumers are checking offers and prices and making purchases on the go, wherever they are and whenever they feel like it. Retailers who respond to these changes in behaviour will be the real winners this Christmas.”


Evolving with consumer demand


Thomas said that adaptability is the name of the game. “Cloggs started as a traditional High Street shop, and, while we continue to use that presence to best effect, we are now also the UK’s largest independent online shoe retailer,” he explained.


“This movement is customer-led and reflects the changing conditions of retail which will prevail not just this Christmas but from hereon in.”