22 Jan 2020

Online retail on the rise over the Christmas period?

The Christmas period, as well as the lead up to it, is an important time for retailers.

As one of the busiest periods of the year and just after the Black Friday rush, business owners all over the UK have been busy packaging orders, marketing their Boxing Day sales and re-stocking their inventory.

But has Christmas 2019 been as successful with lots of economic factors influencing spending in the UK? EKM’s ecommerce experts looked into the results of Christmas, specifically for online retail and how this has affected brick and mortar sales, if at all.

Dominic Foran, EKM Pro Account Manager has said “According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) internet sales are up to 21.3% of all retail sales in December 2019, and when comparing this to quantity bought against the same 3 month period leading up to Christmas in 2018, rose by 1.6% while department stores declined by 2.2%”.

“This indicates a shift in how people are purchasing their products but this isn’t a new phenomenon. We’ve seen this shift trending for nearly 10 years now and businesses small or large need to be taking advantage of the shifting tides”.

Over time we’ve seen high street shops closing their doors either completely or in areas with less foot traffic and with the rise of being able to purchase anything, anytime, anywhere at your fingertips it’s time for businesses to take the bull by the horns and focus more on online selling.

Why are online sales increasing?

According to Statista, more and more people are opting for online shopping in 2019 due to low-cost delivery at 79%, shortly followed by free delivery at 78%. Eliminating the need to travel with online shopping is one of the main draws but throw in free delivery and free returns and you have a recipe for success.

Consumers have more power than ever before and their voice is dictating the ecommerce industry at a fast pace. Companies who are able to keep up with it and even innovate and predict their wants before they know will be able to stay on top when it comes to selling online.

One company who has managed to do this is ASOS who have recently launched their “See My Fit” feature on their website. Whilst the idea for this isn’t new, as a large clothing retailer they have taken advantage of being one of the first, to have more inclusivity when it comes to sizing and by allowing their shoppers to view their products on different body types.

Bringing this back to basics, they are trying to make the shopping experience on their site as easy and frustration-free as possible. They also offer free delivery over a certain amount purchased as well as free returns. This may seem like a nice offering from ASOS but in reality, it’s a tactic to encourage shoppers to buy more, knowing that they’ll be able to return the item for free and receive a full refund, in hopes that the customer either forgets or loves the product enough to keep it.

Other online businesses no matter what size can still take steps to innovate in other ways. Small improvements over time can make a huge impact and those improvements may help you to have a better Christmas period in 2020.

But for now, it seems that online sales are on the rise and are predicted to account for around $101bn by 2024 with e-wallet payments being the main payment form at 81% in 2023, up from 65% in 2019 and we can expect the number of users to amount to 63.8m by 2024 - giving online retailers lots of improvements to work on to ensure they secure a slice of the market and increase their online sales.

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