Boxing Day bonanza: Brits spend record 13m hours shopping online


UK Internet users broke online records this Christmas as 13 million hours were spent shopping online on Boxing Day, according to new research. The research, from Hitwise, indicates that online retail websites received an astonishing 96 million UK Internet visits yesterday, 19.5% more than on Boxing Day last year (80.5 million visits).

The record-breaking 96.2 million visits to the online retail category makes 26 December 2011 the single biggest shopping day in the UK ever.

This success is in part due to the increased interest in shopping on Christmas Day, with gathering momentum since Christmas Eve leading to the biggest online shopping day ever witnessed in the UK.


Another contributing factor to the record-breaking figures was that Boxing Day fell on a Monday this year.

Online traffic to shopping websites peaks each week on a Monday including Cyber Monday which was the biggest pre-Christmas shopping day of the year. With that in mind we predicted that Boxing Day would be the biggest shopping day ever, but it even surpassed our own estimates of 95 million UK Internet visits.

The top 20 retailers receiving traffic yesterday from UK Internet users was much more focussed on fashion stores than electrical stores compared to Christmas Day, with River Island and New Look noticeably rising up the rankings. Department stores M&S, Debenhams and House of Fraser also rose in the rankings thanks to their promoted post-Christmas sales.

Tesco and Tesco Direct jumped from 24th and 25th place respectively to 14th and 15th between Christmas Day and Boxing Day perhaps as consumers wanted to spend Christmas money on gifts but also to take advantage of special offers on food and alcohol ahead of New Year’s Eve.


Looking at the split of visits to multi-channel and online only retailers, you can see that multi-channel took the lion’s share of the traffic over December, particularly on Boxing Day when there were nearly twice as many visits to multi-channel brands than there were to the online only retailers.


However, in comparison to last year, the gap between multi-channel and online only retail has narrowed considerably. As we predicted, the online only retailers are making inroads to multi-channel’s dominance of Christmas shopping.

Last year the gap between the two was 2.81% of all UK Internet visits on Boxing Day, whereas this year that difference has fallen to 2.41%.

As the online retailers like eBay, Amazon and start to compete with the multi-channel brands in the post-Christmas sales, that gap is only going to narrow further in years to come.

We will be discussing Boxing Day and all of the post-Christmas shopping season in our final Christmas webinar on 6 January 2012 at noon. It’s free to sign up for and will be packed full of insight on Christmas this year, and how to prepare for Christmas next year. You can also follow us on Twitter for all the latest festive stats.


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