We’ve all seen (and sometimes been ourselves) the frantic shopper running into a department store on December 24th – willing to grab anything simply so a loved one has a present to unwrap on Christmas Day. However, it could well be that this last-minute dash could become less seen this year, and increasingly so over time.
As reported in an article by the Evening Standard, online sales in the UK is expected to reach a record high during the pre-x’mas holiday season. Both shoppers and e-commerce stores in the UK are preparing for a hefty spending spree before Xmas. It’s predicted that consumers will spend at least a monstrous $4.9 billion online over the course of November and the first few weeks of December.
“Customers like to shop early to be sure of taking delivery in good time – and with Friday being payday for millions of people in the UK we’re expecting the Christmas rush to start early. We’ll have a number of exclusive flash sales in place,” said a spokeswoman from online retailer Cocosa.co.uk.
With such an enormous slice of the pie to take, emerging online stores would be wise to get their act together and be able to begin commerce before the start of November. It’s just as well that launching an e-commerce platform for aspiring entrepreneurs is made easier in 2015, with pre-designed templates such as this speeding up the process and allowing businesses to sell amongst the Christmas rush.
However, it’s not just X’mas that will see an upsurge of spending around November. Two of the biggest shopping days in a calendar year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, loom closer and closer each day – somewhat modern shopping events that get pulses racing for consumers and businesses alike. Just in the UK alone, $1,241 million was spent online in Britain on Black Friday last year. Though more a day for big businesses to drastically reduce prices on major products, online stores should prepare for much of the same – if not more – when Black Friday rolls around this year on November 27th.
“The Black Friday sales saw Britain’s most savvy shoppers logging online in the early hours to secure the best bargains and spend their cash,” as told by Guy Mucklow, Postcode Anywhere’s chief executive. “It is clear that because many of those deals spanned the payday weekend, many shoppers were already spent by the time Cyber Monday landed.”
Not long after the dust will settle after the Black Friday frenzy, Cyber Monday rolls out on 30th November. However, as Black Friday deals encompass both online and brick-and-mortar stores, staff of major chain retailers can rest a little easier and not have to fear hectic shoppers on the 30th. True to its name, Cyber Monday is purely online and is another day where prices are heavily slashed, a huge boon for those that plan ahead for Xmas shopping.
The little sister to Black Friday pulled in approximately $996 million last year, but this figure is likely to rise in 2015, likely due to the rise in smartphone use. Not only are smartphones becoming bigger, faster, and easier to use, there are also a lot more of them, with two billion active smartphone users estimated by the end of this year.
With more customers purchasing products, warehouses and postal services likewise need to be prepared for the oncoming avalanche of boxes and packages.
“We expect today to be phenomenally busy and for it to get even more hectic later,” explained Lucy Robertson, general manager of Amazon’s Peterborough warehouse. “Cyber Monday has always been our biggest single day for sales but the growing success of Black Friday illustrates that it has become a much-anticipated date as the nation prepares for the festive season.”
Unprecedented outcomes will likely happen across the whole shopping spectrum in the forthcoming months, as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day sales are set to lift the retail industry to dizzying heights never seen before. However, it’s possible to miss one aspect of the huge boom in online spending, and that’s the websites themselves. Not only do retailers, warehouses, and the postal service need to be ready for the imminent mass spending, but the UK e-retail association IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) found that many websites simply froze or crashed during Black Friday last year. 124 million website visitors were expected, yet the number jumped to nearly 50% more, eventually climbing to 181 million. “The numbers are amazing but having seen the mayhem on the high street it doesn’t surprise me that figures are higher than we expected,” said Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG.
If there’s any lesson to be learnt with all this, it’s that preparation and good foresight will be an advantage to everyone – consumer or business. Most would rather spend Christmas time with their family, not cursing their lack of care for something they should have seen coming a long time ago.