It’s over before it’s even begun….well not quite, but Christmas is well and truly here. I’m getting a lot of retailers asking whether it’s too late to launch a site in December to take advantage of the Christmas peak period. The reality is, you’ve got nothing to lose even if you launch on the 24th December, but don’t expect to take advantage of the volume that other retailers will be getting.
With the above in mind, here are a few numbers and dates to be aware of:
NOW: people have already started researching their Christmas purchases. They’ve probably already come on to your website and either made a mental note of it or disregarded it from their options. Retailers with their full offering on show right now will have the best chance of ensuring customers see them in all their glory and potentially come back in the next 3 weeks for a lovely purchase.
The ’10′ days of Christmas: these are the 10 days preceding Mega Monday (see next item). Last year this peak in traffic commenced on Saturday 29th November and ended on the 8th December. This year, if it follows the same pattern, will run from Saturday 28th November to Monday 7th December. Still with me?
Mega Monday/Cyber Monday/Monster Monday: Ok I made the last one up. I hate these terms. Makes me cringe. So 80′s. But cringe away Mr Shuman, as this is quite literally the biggest day of the year for online sales. This year it falls on the 7th December 2009 (woop woop, my birthday). It’s traditionally the 2nd Monday in December and for at least 3 years in a row, has been the biggest online shopping day of the year. In 2008, online sales were £320m on that day alone.
Wednesday 23rd December: this is traditionally the peak pre-Christmas footfall period in the bricks and mortar stores out yonder in the real world. Last minute rush before heading home on Christmas eve. Makes a lot of sense to me.
Boxing day, 26th of December: for the last 2 years, this has been the busiest day in online traffic (not sales) for etailers. Bargain hunters looking for deals. Unwanted gifts looking to be exchanged. Whatever it might be, just make make sure your hosting is up to scratch.
And here are some stats to note:
- UK shoppers spent over £4.67bn online in December 2008, which equates to £76.67 for every person in the UK, and is an increase of 14.2% on December 2007 (Source: IMRG / Capgemini, Jan 2009)
And here’s the kicker:
- Online spending is to reach a total of £8.9bn this Christmas, representing 20p in every £1 spent, and a 24% increase on previous years, according to research carried out by the Centre for Retail Research for Kelkoo. (Note: this is implying Christmas is not just December but is not clear which period it does include)
- 93% of UK consumers plan to shop online for their Christmas gifts this year according to e-Customer Service Index (eCSI) from eDigitalResearch and IMRG
So there you have it. Will online sales break all the records once again? Will the pre-Christmas sales skew the results? Will people shun the high-street in favour of on-line? Will I get what I want this Christmas?