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Industry News

Published on December 20th, 2017 | by The GC Team

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It’s not over till the fat lady sings…

Online retail spend is forecast to reach £844m on Christmas Day this year, representing a 6.3% uplift on the same day in 2016.  

The prediction comes from the UK’s online retail association IMRG, which is also forecasting a rise in online sales for Boxing Day with expectations that they will exceed a billion for the first time, reaching £1.03bn, a 7.9% increase on 2016 when total spend was £954m.

If the forecast is borne out by shopper activity over the period, IMRG said it would mean that Black Friday continues to outstrip Boxing Day for online retail spend.

In 2017, IMRG recorded £1.39bn spent online on Black Friday, an 11.7% increase on the same day in 2016.

Managing director Justin Opie said: “Boxing day sales remain a fixture of retail and an important day in the calendar, but Black Friday has altered sales patterns over the full peak period and is now the primary discounting event of the season. And perhaps, as with Black Friday, we’re seeing Boxing Day spend become more online-focused.

“Although going out to the shops on that day has long been a British tradition, footfall was reportedly down 7.3% on Boxing Day last year. It’s likely that spend on Christmas Day is pulling some of that order volume forward as well, as shoppers have the ability to browse and buy from the sofa on mobile devices during quiet moments at home and visiting family, redeeming the huge numbers of gift cards and coupons that they receive in place of presents each year.”

In other news today, the CBI said retail sales increased in the year to December, building further on November’s solid performance.

According to the organisation’s Distributive Trades Survey, retail sales and orders continued to rise in the year to December, although both disappointed expectations of somewhat stronger growth.

Alpesh Paleja, CBI Principal Economist, said: “Retailers have seen decent growth heading into the vital Christmas trading period, although it was weaker than expected.

“Notwithstanding the sales growth seen in the last couple of months, underlying trading conditions are tough for retailers.

“We expect the squeeze on real pay for households to last a while longer, so retailers will still face challenging conditions ahead.”

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