Online retail news in brief (3 January 2018)


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.

A tough 2018 ahead?

KPMG and Ipsos Retail Think Tank have released predictions that suggest 2018 holds a number of significant challenges for retailers.

Among the forecast difficulties are inflation, stagnation in wage growth, and the resulting squeezes in customer spending.

The think tank has also flagged risks including:

  • GDPR
  • Continued Brexit developments
  • The increasing expectation of free delivery

So, what else can we expect from this year…?

2018 economic outlook

The BBC has suggested some things to expect from the economy in 2018.

  • The OECD had forecast 3.7% stock market growth, up from 3.6% in 2016
  • PwC predicts UK GDP growth will slow down to 1.4%
  • Potential regulatory actions against tech giants
  • US tax cuts may jolt the economy

Shoppers told to save for Christmas 2018

The Money Advice Trust has suggested that shoppers should start saving immediately for Christmas 2018. A survey by the trust found that 16% expect to fall behind on January finances, up from 11% last year.

The trust suggested that joining a credit union could help those who struggle to budget at Christmas.

Entertainment retail grows 8.8%

Sales in the entertainment sector grew 8.8% in 2017, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

  • 70% of those sales were through Spotify or Amazon
  • Physical format sales declined by 7.2%, which is half of 2016’s rate of decline
  • Physical console game sales grew by 5%
  • Vinyl sold over a third more than in 2016

The BBC reports this week that UK listeners streamed 68.1 billion songs in 2017.

Boxing Day Footfall drops

Figures from Springboard show that high street footfall on Boxing Day 2017 was down 4.5% on Boxing Day 2016.

Diane Wehrle, insights director, Springboard: “This undoubtedly reflects the extent of discounting that has already occurred – particularly over Black Friday – and also the growth in online trade this year. In addition to this, Black Friday now rivals Boxing Day in terms of the volume of footfall generated and so its influence as a key trading day in the retail calendar has been diluted.”

IMRG will publish figures for online sales over Christmas and Boxing Day shortly.

Over £3bn lost through self-service checkouts every year

Research by Voucher Codes Pro has concluded that UK shoppers steal £3.2bn worth of goods through self-service checkouts.

Two out of five surveyed shoppers owned up to taking items through the self-scanning area of a shop without paying for them.

The figures include customers who say they forgot that they hadn’t paid for every item, and those who struggled to complete a purchase using the machine, gave up, and took the item anyway.

Royal Mail predicts ‘Take Back Tuesday’

Royal Mail has prepared for a significant volume of returns following festive online shopping.

The first Tuesday of the New Year, dubbed ‘Take Back Tuesday’, is a typical day for high volumes of returns, with double he daily average of December returns, as customers send back purchases from the Christmas period.

For a view of average returns rates, download the IMRG Delivery Index.

Whose button’s biggest?

President Trump has escalated his Twitter feud with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The President responded to Kim’s claim to have a “Nuclear button on his desk at all times” by claiming, “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is much bigger & more powerful than his, and my Button works!”

Naturally, the president received waves of criticism for the somewhat unorthodox approach to foreign relations. Not all responses were negative, however, and one supporter encouraged Mr Trump to initiate nuclear war.

Happy New Year

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