As a general rule, the Christmas period is considered to be a good leg up for retailer’s profits before the end of the year and in 2011 this period was seen as vital. So the news that Boxing Day was the UK’s biggest ever day for internet retailing will have been very welcome news indeed.
According to Experian Hitwise’s analysis there were 96 million visits to online stores, with UK shoppers collectively spending 13 million hours online. Visits to retail websites were up by over 15 million visits in comparison to Boxing Day 2010. Gadgets were top of consumers shopping lists with many looking for deals on iPad’s and Kindles.
Intrigued, we decided to look at activity across our own network during the festive period. Looking at 13 of our most popular fashion and gift retailers, which include Debenhams and Warehouse, our customers saw sales peak on New Years Eve, the 28th and Boxing Day. Initial indications are that sales were up on last year, demonstrating the value that an affiliate model has in helping to bolster online sales and capture consumer spend.
But as ever, warnings about 2012 being a tough year for retailers remain in place. Whilst analysts were largely pleased with the boost in volume sales, some expressed concern that people were buying more, but paying less. No doubt we will learn more as retailers unveil their figures over the coming weeks. Today Next Online Boost Next, posted a 3.1 percent increase in sales between August and Christmas Eve, but saw its shares fall. Although its chairman stated that he felt the post-Christmas sales had gone well, the company was cautious about the year ahead.
It would seem that the key take aways from the sales period are that consumers are willing to spend – but only at the right price. As a result, retailers need to balance boosting both sales and revenue. Currently many are struggling to understand which marketing channels are performing best when it comes to attracting customers to their website and converting that interest into sales. What retailers need is all that information in one data set. This would generate the transparency needed to understand how different marketing channels are performing for them so that they can align their strategies, depending on what they want to promote, accordingly.
In other good news this morning the UK economy rebounded between July – September 2011. So whilst there is no doubt about it, in 2012 consumers will become even savvier shoppers but armed with the right insight retailers will be able to deploy the most effective strategies that bolster sales, revenue and market share.
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