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Christmas 2013: A global e-commerce shopping boom

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Christmas has long been the most significant event for retailers around the world. But with the advent of online shopping, festive sales have reached new highs. Here we look at some of the habits and trends in different countries driving this e-commerce shopping boom and give our top 5 tips to help your e-commerce website be more Christmas shopper friendly. We’ll start at home in the UK….

This year, UK online shoppers are expected to spend more than £10bn in December alone (IMRG and Capgemini), taking 2013’s total online spend up to £87bn (compared with last year’s £78bn).

The busiest day in terms of sales volume is predicted to be Monday 2nd December, a day that has been coined Cyber Monday. Last year’s Cyber Monday saw online retailer Amazon sell 41 gifts per second, equating to 3.5 million sales in just one day.

Some UK online shopping facts:

37% of shoppers plan to do more of their Christmas shopping online this year

25% expect to spend more this Christmas than they did in 2012 (Savvy Marketing)

97% growth in shopping on a smartphone (Adobe)

60% growth shopping on a tablet

Yet, even though 2nd December has now passed there is still plenty of time to reach ‘last minute’ shoppers. Last year, research showed almost 12.75m British men still hadn’t started their present buying by 17th December. And considering that men outspend women online by around 20-30%, there’s certainly potential to target male shoppers during the run up to Christmas.

The great news is that this e-commerce Christmas shopping boom is not just in the UK.

Internationally, a fifth (20%) of consumers will purchase the majority of their Christmas gifts online (Ipsos Public Affairs).

Although the UK leads the way in Europe, it should be noted that 12% of Italian customers, 11% of Swedish customers and 8% of Dutch customers will make the majority of their purchases online.

And while French consumers say they’ll spend less this year (an average of 193 Euros online), there’ll be more of them shopping online, taking the predicted internet Christmas retail sales to 10.3 billion Euros (a 14% year-on-year increase).

In the USA, Thanksgiving occurred late this year, meaning that the Christmas shopping season will be a short one. Yet despite this, spending is expected to increase by 4% from last year, taking total spending to $738 billion. Retail competition is fierce and online retailers have come up with some clever ways of appealing to customers, such as attractive shipping offers; including Amazon promising to deliver on Sundays.

In Canada, a massive 73% of consumers say they will shop online this Christmas, with 10% saying they’ll do the majority of their shopping online.

5 tips for your Christmas shopper friendly e-commerce website

  1. Adding some festive red and green to your homepage or a Christmas greeting brings a little seasonal spirit to your website.
  2. Clearly specify which date all orders need to be placed by for guaranteed Christmas delivery. Adding options such as click and collect and next-day delivery can be particularly appealing at Christmas.
  3. Extend your returns policy to at least the middle of January so that customers aren’t worried about returning gifts.
  4. Be mobile-friendly. Over half of British retailers are expecting sales from mobile and tablet devices to increase rapidly in the run-up to Christmas. It might be too late to make your website mobile-friendly in time for this Christmas, but it should definitely be on the ‘to-do’ list of any online retailer in 2014.
  5. Remember your international customers. Internationalising your website is a must if you intend to target customers overseas. There are not only language and cultural issues to consider, but you should also make it clear which countries you deliver to, how much delivery charges are and how products can be returned. Make sure you update this information at Christmas so that overseas buyers know whether gifts will arrive in time.

If you have any questions on how to approach translating and localising your website for overseas markets, or would like a free translation quote, please contact a member of our team on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email

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