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Ecommerce Powers UK Holiday Sales

Digital buyers increased nearly 14%

January 12, 2017 | Retail & Ecommerce

UK shoppers did more of their 2016 holiday season buying digitally than they had in 2015, providing a bright spot in an otherwise less-than-stellar season for retail sales overall.

A post-Christmas study by performance marketing firm HookLogic found the number of unique ecommerce shoppers in the UK increased 12.4% in the period spanning November 7 to December 31 compared to the corresponding period of 2015. Likewise, the percentage of digital shoppers who purchased products digitally rose 13.6% year over year.

UK Retail Ecommerce Holiday Season Sales Share, 2013-2016 (% of total retail holiday season sales)

Sales figures from other sources reflect those gains. A survey of 70 UK retailers by accountancy BDO found that online sales increased 19% year over year in December 2016, up from a 7.5% gain a year earlier and propelled by a 51% jump in the week before Christmas.

Visa UK Consumer Spending Index data shows that online spending in the UK rose 5.5% in December 2016 vs. a year earlier, while in-store spending increased only 0.7%.

Both BDO and HookLogic attributed ecommerce’s gains to digital shoppers having a higher level of certainty that gifts would arrive in time for Christmas. HookLogic, for one, saw ecommerce conversion rates surge by triple digits on the final Thursday and Friday before the holiday.

In October, eMarketer predicted retail ecommerce’s share of November–December 2016 retail sales in the UK would swell to 20.3%, up from 17.8% the previous year.

—Ben Clague

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