Sales & Marketing

Deal-driven shoppers moved online and away from the high street at Christmas

4 min read

20 January 2016

We’ve come to that time in the New Year when bosses and investors look back on the data accumulated by shops throughout the Christmas season. Next was the first to release such data and it wasn’t great news – either for the retailer or for other high street stores.

Overall, footfall across Britain’s high street tumbled by four per cent year-on-year in December 2015, as deal-driven shoppers went online instead. It’s been suggested by some retail commentators that the latest festive season was a pivotal moment for e-commerce.

Our most recent survey at LovetheSales.com found that the majority of shoppers go online to save money. During the Black Friday and Christmas periods, 80 per cent said they wouldn’t click “buy” unless the item came with a reduced price tag.

Retailers know the internet has allowed consumers to become more savvy when shopping, especially after the most recent recession. This has hit bricks and mortar firms heavily and many retailers now use discounts and sales periods to drive extra sales.

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As a result, the last few years have seen big changes in shopping behaviour. The research from LovetheSales.com showed that 61 per cent of respondents bought Christmas gifts during the Black Friday weekend – until recent years Manic Monday was the traditional rush for shoppers buying their gifts.

However, it’s not only during traditional sales periods when consumers find great prices on new products. The data showed that deals can be found every day of the year, with 10-15 per cent of all retail products being reduced in price every day of the year.

Post-Black Friday traffic online reduced, but 80 per cent of the fashion items that went on sale that weekend remained discounted throughout the whole of December. There was also a significant rise in the overall volume of discounted price products available in the second week of December, as retailers looked to gain extra customers shopping for Christmas gifts. And perhaps most surprising of all, the overall volume of discounted fashion products did not rise for the Boxing Day sales.

In contrast to fashion the electronics industry, famous for its seasonal sales, saw no significant increase of discounted products available throughout the Black Friday weekend and December. This shows that although marketing and messaging discounts for these periods increased, there were as many discounts available prior to these periods as there was during.

The average reduction in price of fashion items during the last quarter of 2015 was 40 per cent, and 25 per cent off across electronics. Also, our data revealed that on any day of the year, between ten per cent and 15 per cent of all retail products are reduced in price, which means that you no longer need to hold out for the key sales periods to save money. Shoppers can make great savings on the latest fashion and electrical products any time of the year.

So, it is evident that there are shifts in business and consumer practices. As online choices expand and become more simple and accessible, it is inevitable that online spending will grow – perhaps the tradition of Christmas shopping on the high street is about to come to an end?

Stuart McClure is co-founder of Lovethesales.com.