Online Retail News In Brief (20 December 2017)


In case you missed them, we’ve pulled together a few online retail news highlights from around the web this week.

Here are some of the latest stories in online retail.

Christmas deals to outnumber Black Friday discounts?

PwC has suggested that UK retailers will be running more promotions over Christmas then they did over Black Friday.

The firm stated that this week in the run up to Christmas will see more promotional activity than the Black Friday weekend.

While the two periods are not identical lengths, if it proves to be accurate the research could demonstrate that Black Friday has not taken over as the only Winter discounting event, and that Christmas does, indeed, still exist.

Speaking of Christmas…

A Sunday Christmas Eve means earlier closing times

Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year, and any shoppers planning to head to the high street will have to contend with the hours prescribed by Sunday trading laws.

Shops with over 3,000 square feet of floorspace must not open until 11am, and supermarkets of a certain size must close by 4pm under the trading rules, which could play havoc with last minute Christmas shoppers on an already hectic shopping day.

Speaking more of Christmas…

IMRG’s Christmas forecast is published

IMRG estimates that online retail spend on Christmas day will reach £844m, which represents a 6.3% uplift on the same day in 2016, when spend hit £794m.

Online shopping on Boxing Day is also forecast to exceed a billion for the first time, reaching £1.03bn, a 7.9% increase on 2016 when total spend was £954m.

If that forecast is borne out by shopper activity over that period, it would mean that Black Friday continues to outstrip Boxing Day for online retail spend. In 2017, IMRG recorded £1.39bn spent online for that day – an 11.7% increase on Black Friday 2016.

Sainsbury’s expects 30% gin uplift on Christmas 2016

It seems that Britain’s renewed love affair with gin is still ardent. Over 2017, the sales gap between gin and vodka reduced from 25% to 10%, and Sainsbury’s has announced that it forecasts 30% more gin sales this year than over Christmas 2016.

The supermarket also launched three gin lines earlier this year.

Waitrose launches personalised coupons at the till

Waitrose is introducing more personalisation efforts in store.

The supermarket has begun offering coupons to customers at checkout, based on that shopper’s purchases. The scheme was trialled in 10 stores, and is ready to roll out nationally.

The technology also integrates the myWaitrose card, so members of the supermarket’s loyalty club can receive coupons based on much larger samples of checkout data.

Hiding behind phones at Christmas

Sapio Research has investigated the extent to which people will use their smartphones at Christmas.

  • People spend an average of 103 mins each on their phones during Christmas day
  • 32% spend more than two hours using them throughout the day
  • 26% of 18-34-year-olds will use their phones to “kill time” or “avoid relatives” at Christmas

An opportunity, perhaps, to tempt a few shoppers.

For a view of mobile sales, with breakdown by smartphone and tablet, see the IMRG Online Retail Sales Index.

Leicestershire Country Council attempts sprout rationing

A tweet by Leicestershire County Council has been met with derision, after the local authority attempted to guide residents as to a reasonable Brussels Sprout portion.

The guidelines, aimed at reducing food waste, also suggested:

  • 250g of Turkey off the bone (675g on the bone)
  • 250g of roast potatoes
  • 3 pigs in blankets
  • 3 stuffing balls
  • 150g Christmas pudding

It’s currently unclear how stringently Brits intend to stick to these guidelines on Christmas Day.

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