The value of online sales made during the six week Christmas period in 2020 are sure to be off the charts! Research suggests that this holiday season is expected to see an unprecedented growth in online sales that could even reach the value of brick-and-mortar sales in the UK (Statista, 2020). This projected increase in sales is triggered by the impact of the coronavirus and lockdown measures put in place for the month of November, therefore limiting people’s physical shopping experiences. With Black Friday month falling within the UK lockdown, the event is certainly becoming an online phenomenon which could be the first initiator of the online boom of sales this Christmas.
With the current circumstances of not being able to see extended family members and friends, consumers are said to increase their spending this holiday season to substitute time spent apart during this year. This effect will not just occur within the UK as researchers within North America believe that online retail will grow by 18.5% and offline sales are set to decline by 6.6% in 2020 due to the effect the pandemic has had on people’s spending habits (Forrester, 2020).
With people staying at home more so than ever, the rapid shift to online shopping this year has come as no surprise. Online Christmas spending is forecasted to equate to around one third of all Christmas spending this year with research suggesting shoppers will spend £1.3bn compared to last year (Internet Retailing, 2020). With these statistics in mind, this is the perfect time to prepare, and ensure your online marketing is on point and your customers website experience is nothing but perfect to ensure your business experiences this online wave and your sales explode.
When looking into the shopping habits of people of different age levels it is apparent that your business’ online presence is more important now than it ever has been before. According to research, among shoppers aged 18-24, 20.8% start their gift search in a physical shop while 43.2% start online. For the 25-34s and 35-44s the most popular starting point for Christmas shopping is a search engine with 28.2% of them starting this where they most often begin their gift search. This shows that now is the time to be optimising your online content so that a search engine shows it as a top result, this is search engine optimisation and pay per click. These will both increase both the quality and quantity of website traffic as well as increase your brand’s exposure!