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Record online shopping forecast for Christmas Day

Many Britons will be turning their backs on their families and festive traditions on Christmas Day, in favour of shopping on their tablets and smartphones, with retailers expecting a record amount to be spent on December 25.

According to Experian and IMRG, the industry association for online retailers, a record £636m will be spent on Christmas Day this year, a 36 per cent increase on 2013.

Amazon UK said it was expecting its busiest Christmas Day yet, having seen sales on December 25 increase more than fivefold over the past five years.

Christine Cross, the independent retail consultant, said activity on Christmas Day was being driven by retailers beginning their full sales online once stores closed their doors on Christmas Eve.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said the trend was also being propelled by Britons receiving tablets and smartphones as Christmas gifts, prompting them to jump straight online.

Amazon UK said it expected orders to peak at 12.26pm on Christmas Day, when many consumers would be downloading books, movies, TV shows and music to newly received digital devices.

It predicted that Christmas Day this year would be the busiest day ever for digital sales on Amazon’s UK site, including Kindle books, apps, digital music and digital video games.

Andrew Murphy, retail director of John Lewis, said that over the past two years, online shopping on Christmas Day had “grown materially, and I don’t see any reason why that will not happen again this year”.

However, while the amount spent online on Christmas Day is increasing, Experian and IMRG expect it will still be eclipsed by Boxing Day and Black Friday.

They forecast Boxing Day spending of £748m online, compared with the “astronomical” £810m spent on Black Friday.

“Although we expect Boxing Day to be even bigger than last year, with online spend up around 40 per cent year on year, it is unlikely to eclipse the unprecedented level of sales on Black Friday,” said Ms Spooner.

Mr Murphy also said there was “no prospect” of spending on Christmas Day “being remotely as big as Black Friday”.

The adoption of discounts at the end of November — emulating the US habit of making special offers on the day after Thanksgiving — has disrupted the usual build-up to Christmas for retailers. Some store groups are concerned that it has pulled sales forward from this week and from the traditional Boxing Day sales.
Both John Lewis and Dixons Carphone said that Black Friday had sucked sales out of December. But John Lewis was expecting a last-minute surge over the weekend and into the next few days, while Dixons Carphone was still anticipating the “usual extremely busy day on Boxing Day”.

There was evidence that Britons hit the shops with a vengeance over the weekend, with Bluewater shopping centre in Kent saying it had had an “excellent” Saturday.

Source : Andrea Felsted - FT.com
www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e204ebc2-8919-11e4-ad5b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3MccSwVPb

22 December 2014

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