Black Friday and Cyber Monday grabbed the headlines throughout November, as UK retailers prepared to slash their prices to compete with rival businesses and follow in the footsteps of their American brethren.
Data from Vouchercodes.co.uk predicted sales of 1.3bn over the shopping weekend, which spanned 28 November to 1 December.
The buying frenzy has seemingly only just begun, however, as the data from Experian and IMRG predicts Manic Monday spending which lands on the second Monday of each December will hit 676.5m. Web traffic is expected to be even higher than Cyber Monday with 151m visits to retail sites.
Traffic is predicted to climb 26 per cent year-on-year, while an average of 470,000 is to be spent per minute, supported by consumers using mobiles to part with their cash while on the move.
James Miller, senior retail consultant at Experian Marketing Services, said: With increased confidence in the standard of delivery services and click and collect , we expect to see people break away from traditional shopping habits.
“We have identified a number of key demographic types, who are believed to be behind the rise of online sales during the festive period. Online shopping is an important leisure activity for a wide variety of people, from active middle-income families with teenage children to young singles. These tech-savvy groups are typically early adopters of new technology trends, prolific online shoppers, and active users of mobile and tablet devices.
Meanwhile on a global scale, Black Friday, which is typically seen as a day for high street shopping, overtook digital-centric Cyber Monday in the online shopping stakes, according to Worldpay.
The payment services provider reports a 74 per cent year-on-year rise in ecommerce on Black Friday, which amounts to 297,000 additional transactions, though Cyber Monday grew by just 44 per cent comparatively.
Retailers in fashion, video games, electronics and digital content are noted as contributors to the growth of Black Friday’s online footprint as the businesses pushed promotions earlier and held flash sales to drive an uplift.
When broken down regionally, the UK and US accounted for the most transactions. Interestingly, Cyber Monday sales volumes decreased compared to 2013, but the average value spiked significantly from 33 last year to 133 in 2014.
Daren Fitzgerald, chief revenue officer at Tryzens Group, which specialises in ecommerce solutions, believes there’s a lot to learn from the cyber weekend, saying: By making interfaces relevant, intuitive and swift the barriers to accessing products were reduced and conversion rates were high. Looking ahead, with well over 50 per cent of online sales now via mobiles and tablets, retailers must embrace the differentiated user experience needed for each.
In the UK the Cyber Weekend really came of age this year with the event being advertised by retailers to whet the appetite of consumers to come in store or go online between the 28 November and the 1 December.
However, he noted that it’s less excusable in the age of cloud computing and a huge web-based lifestyle and economy to experience operational downtime while firms that did have site failures will have found the faults damaging sales.
Preparation is the key, as Fitzgerald said the savvy retailers have thought about every aspect of their online shop and customer journey through the site extremely carefully, from how products are displayed right through to how they checkout.
Looking back on the tremendous success here in the UK surrounding Cyber Weekend, even more retailers will be looking to enhance their ability and agility to scale and align their cross channel experience well ahead of next November to capitalise on a specific time when an increasing nation of consumers are actively looking for bargains,” he added.
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