Online shopping has transformed the way we shop at all times of the year, but it’s perhaps no more apparent than just before Christmas. The mad crowds of Christmas shopping have – for many people – been replaced with sitting on the couch with a laptop. But exactly how much has online shopping changed the Christmas shop?
What Do the Statistics Show?
If you’ve noticed that you do much more of your Christmas shopping online your trends are reflected in the national statistics. For Christmas 2016 – the six weeks from mid-November to the end of the year – the following happened:
- Online sales continued a trend of rapid growth, they rose by 12.9% from the previous year
- Overall sales grew just 1.9% in comparison
- Online sales accounted for 27% of all Christmas sales, a total of £21 billion
- Mobile shopping grew massively, with 80% of visits to websites and 42.3% of all online purchases done from mobiles and tablets
- Physical stores saw a fall of 1.6% in sales
The statistics show that online is very quickly becoming a more popular method of buying, but physical shopping is still the dominant force. Nevertheless, the rapid growth of one and slight drop of the other shows changing tides.
What’s Causing the Christmas Shopping Shift?
The statistics show the shift in numbers towards online Christmas shopping, but it doesn’t reveal much about the psychology of why there’s a big change. The obvious reason is the convenience of being to get what you need from the comfort of your own home. The speed and low effort of simply clicking button is more appealing than dodging other shoppers
Additionally, the infrastructure of online retailers has improved to a point where consumers can be confident in getting what they need in time. The speed and reliability of services such as Amazon Prime can often make finding what you need easier – and potentially faster – than if you had to visit a shop more than once. The added benefits of always seeing what’s in stock when and additional consumer protection further fuels the growth of online Christmas commerce.
Are Traditional Shop’s Days Numbered?
It may seem like this growth of online sales is going to swallow up the old ways, but the very small drop in physical sales suggests otherwise. It seems there is still a is market for people who enjoy the Christmas chaos, or need some last-minute items. The experience of a busy Christmas shop has become part of many people’s Christmas ritual, which could well keep the shops at a sustainable level of sales.
There is also a market for the kind of items that people feel more comfortable to view in person, despite the consumer protection you get online. Clothing, shoes, and other variable products are often still bough in person. Considering much of the online clothing market is aimed at the young and parents may still be doing the Christmas shopping, clothing retailers could be in a safer spot than electronics outlets or bookstores.
Nevertheless, as the online market grows only time will tell how Christmas shopping will look in years to come.