Online Christmas shopping forecast to hit £24bn

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UK shoppers are expected to spend a record £24.3 billion online in the run up to Christmas, up 10% on 2015, with Black Friday set to busiest online shopping day of the year.

Online revenues around Black Friday alone are expected to hit £901 million this year, driven by aggressive sales promotions and its proximity to most peoples’ final pay day before Christmas, according to the latest Adobe Digital Insights study.

Consumer activity around both Black Friday and Cyber Monday (usually the last Friday and Monday of November, respectively) shows no sign of abating, with spending growth on these two days outpacing annual average growth in the UK by 50%.

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The expectation of lower prices is still the dominant reason why UK consumers shop online, although price sensitivity amongst UK shoppers has decreased by 11% since 2015.

Increasing its dominance of the holiday season over the past three years, Black Friday has reshaped the pattern of holiday spending in the UK, with online sales tending to peak before the start of December and then levelling out through to Boxing Day.

Data from the last three years points to the growing importance of mobile shopping during the UK festive season, with smartphone holiday sales expected to surpass tablet sales for the first time this year, and smartphone shopping expected to account for 20% of total holiday revenue, the Adobe report said.

Smartphones will account for 41% of festive browsing in the UK overall; and, of the 13 countries surveyed in the ADI study, the UK is expected to have the highest mobile usage (together with Japan) during the holiday season.

Meanwhile, Christmas Day will surpass Black Friday as the biggest mobile shopping day of the season. Across 13 countries surveyed, including the UK, it is expected to account for 58% more mobile revenue than Cyber Monday and 34% more than Black Friday.

When it comes to grabbing consumer attention around shopping deals, marketers can continue to expect search advertising to be UK shoppers’ most likely source for bargains, with 27% of them ranking it as their top source for price deals and bargains during the holiday season.

Email, however, remains an important source of information, ranking second in the UK at 23%, and first in the US.

John Watton, EMEA marketing director at Adobe, commented: “In just three short years, Black Friday has radically reshaped consumer spending over the Christmas period in the UK. The challenge for brands is further exacerbated by the rapid growth in mobile browsing and spending, with more time-pressed Brits turning to online shopping to avoid traffic and queues. It’s more important than ever that retailers deliver consistent, easy and compelling experiences on every single device that a customer uses in order to avoid missing out on their share of the growing online spend. Consumers are more spoilt for choice and well-informed than ever, and they’ll quickly go elsewhere if they’re not getting the experience they want.”

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