UK online sales exceeded £100 billion in 2014
For 2015, IMRG and Capgemini are forecasting growth of a further 12% with total online sales estimated to be worth £116 billion by the end of the year.
In the eight weeks to 27 December, UK shoppers spend £21.6 billion on gifts and bargains which was 13% more than the same time last year.
However, sales growth was just 5% year-on-year in December, the lowest ever recorded in the Index for the period, as discounting around Black Friday focused huge volumes of sales activity on the final week of November.
Adgild Hop, principal head of retail consulting at Capgemini, said: “Black Friday was unquestionably a success for the value-seeking consumer, but for retailers themselves, its success is not quite as clear. As the Index reveals, spending was brought forward a month earlier, at much lower margins for retailers, as a result of the discounts available to customers in November.”
According to separate figures from Experian and IMRG, an estimated £810 million was spent online on Black Friday 2014, the biggest ever day for UK online sales. The Index figures show that the greatest concentration of sales during the Christmas period - 17% - took place during the week of Black Friday.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “While the 5% December online growth is lower than expected, the story of Christmas trading online this year is one of compression. The anticipated heavy discounting that was very widely communicated in advance of Black Friday served to concentrate the peak around that day in November.
“Looking at Christmas trading as a whole, the 13% growth for November and December combined was actually around where we would have expected. The challenge going forward is that Black Friday has been cemented into shoppers’ consciousness and they will expect the same kind of focused discounting next year. As an industry, we will need to work together to understand how this extreme activity spike can best be managed in the interests of both shoppers and retailers.”
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