Ecommerce Sees Record Boxing Day Sales in UK
By David A. Utter
A robust holiday shopping season in the United Kingdom saw significant traffic to ecommerce retailers. Millions of visitors dropped by various online retailers leading to Boxing Day, but the big bump in consumer activity was yet to come.
Information services company Experian Hitwise saw huge numbers being recorded by UK internet users heading to retailers. On Christmas Eve, 84 million visits to retailers took place. Then on Christmas Day, 107 million visits happened as consumers clicked and compared and shopped.
Boxing Day easily surpassed those figures according to Experian Hitwise. The company said 113 million visits to online retail sites took place that day. UK consumers spent 14 hours online making those ecommerce visits. While the traffic represented a 17 percent increase from 2011, it fell short of an earlier Experian Hitwise prediction.
The company anticipated 126 million Boxing Day visits would take place. They had predicted online ecommerce spending on Boxing Day could hit 472.5 million pounds (about $770 million in US dollars.)
Experian attributed the lower than forecasted Boxing Day traffic to a couple of factors. For one, that Christmas Eve traffic was far greater than normal for a day that has been a poor performer for ecommerce in past years.
Also, they have begun to see the phenomenon of "sales creep" taking place. Retailers began sales earlier in the time frame than in years prior. By providing discounts earlier in the season, sellers hope to encourage shoppers to spend more.
This gentle nudge of shopping activity in the UK to slightly ahead of Christmas looks much milder than what takes place in the United States. We've seen reports of people beginning their hunt for holiday bargains as early as Halloween. And of course the day after Thanksgiving has been a traditional big sales day, being joined in recent years by Cyber Monday too.
About the author:
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.
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