Online shopping the secret weapon behind retailers’ Christmas success

As the power of the internet continues to dictate the success of high-street retailers, companies are increasingly investing in online advertising as well as in a number of innovative digital solutions to ease the lives of their busy tech-savvy consumers.

Though high-street retailers may be glum after experiencing a 2.2% decrease in sales compared to wintertime in 2012, accounting firm BDO has revealed that non-store sales, aided by the introduction of many ‘click and collect’ schemes, experienced a 31.1% rise in overall sales since 2012, with the week before Christmas seeing such sales grow by a massive 55.7%.

The growing popularity of using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to conduct online shopping will have also inevitably played a major part in the flourishing online sales market, as more and more people bypass the high street to purchase goods in the comfort of their own home, or whilst on the move.

Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, commented: ”As anticipated, online sales and ‘click and collect’ were the real success stories this Christmas and these figures illustrate just how critical it is for retailers to invest in online routes to market. Many retailers will feel disappointed with reduced footfall in stores but when the technology is right this shows that this need not be a disaster.

The big rise in the last week of December when we started to see discounting shows that consumers are prepared to hold out until the last minute to pick up a bargain. This suggests that the January sales will encourage shoppers to part with their hard earned cash but there is little room for complacency. January is a cruel month for the high street as retailers are usually sitting on high cash holdings and low stock levels so they are particularly exposed at this time of year.”

Coming soon: Look out for our 2014 digital predictions …

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