British shoppers spent £5.3 billion in November, yet seasonal trends show that consumers are still holding out for further sales and price cuts in the run up to Christmas, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.
The research also revealed that sales are up 25 per cent on October, and up 11 per cent compared to November 2008.
However, despite sales increasing ahead of the festive season, year-on-year growth has slowed in 2009, in line with the online retail industry maturing.
Many consumers have chosen to delay their Christmas shopping this year as the past two years have seen retailers putting in place seasonal price cuts and promotions in December rather than January, meaning many have delayed their Christmas shopping this year.
The index also discovered that shoppers are allowing shorter delivery windows than usual, as Christmas falls on a Friday this year, which it says indicates increased confidence in retailers’ ability to deliver on time.
Typically the first week in December is the busiest peak week for Christmas shopping online and there is some evidence that this may be the case again in 2009.
Carl Clump, chief executive of Retail Decisions (ReD), card fraud prevention and payment processing experts, said: “We’re witnessing a 17 per cent rise in online retail sales through December, which shows how important the internet has become as part of our daily lives. We are also seeing online shoppers spending their Christmas money with the larger retailers, because they have confidence in the longevity of reputable brands.”
Mike Petevinos, head of consulting for retail at Capgemini UK, added: “November’s results show a solid growth for online retail in the run up to Christmas. Given retailers perceptions that consumers are holding out for bargains, this would suggest a strong December for online.
“The challenge will be to ensure that value is at the forefront of the Christmas message, with carefully designed promotions becoming the norm across the sector. Inspiring confidence in late delivery windows could also become a differentiator for those that have got it right.”
* Online collection points at shoe stores
Retriever Logistics has opened parcel collection points for online shopping at Brantano footwear stores in Hull, Sheffield and Stockton-on-Tees.
The idea of the Retriever service is to offer a network of parcel collection points at retail outlets. The internet shoppers order their goods online and their parcels are delivered through the supply chain in the usual way, but instead of being delivered to their home address their parcels are delivered to stores that are open outside normal 9am-5pm working hours and weekends, such as the Brantano footwear outlets.
The company has developed web-based software and barcode technology to handle the parcel retrieval and communications process relating to the service and are talking to e-retailers, as well as a number of prospective collection point partners.
Head of marketing Joanne Hunter said: “There is a lot of interest in our model and once we prove the concept of our service with the Brantano pilot, it will roll out nationwide very quickly. It is a neat idea with a win/win outcome for everyone involved. Not only does it solve many of the issues around last mile logistics, generate footfall for our collection point partners, but also because it significantly reduces parcel trips up and down our motorways it is a significant win for the environment too.”
When internet shoppers orders items online, they are presented with the Retriever Logistics option as part of the online transaction process. They are asked to key in their postcode which triggers a list of collection points in their area. They select one that is convenient for them and when the parcel arrives– the internet shopper receives a text message alerting them to the fact that their parcel is ready for collection.