£472.5m ‘to be spent online on Boxing Day’


UK consumers will spend a total of 375 million hours shopping online in December 2012 with 17 million of these on Boxing Day alone, according to new research. The study, from Experian and IMRG, indicates that Christmas 2012 will be the biggest and busiest ever for online retailers in the UK.

Visits to UK retail websites are expected to reach 126 million on Wednesday 26th December, 31 per cent up on 2011 and an increase of 14 million visits from the recent record breaking Cyber Monday.

Consumers are expected to spend £472.5 million on Boxing Day as they snap up sales bargains.

According to Experian and IMRG:

• Boxing Day will be the busiest online shopping day in the UK with 126 million online visits

o On Boxing Day the UK will spend 17 million hours shopping online
o UK consumers will spend 375 million hours shopping online in December 2012, 32 million more hours than were spent in 2011 – an increase of nine percent year on year
o UK consumers are expected to spend £472.5 million online on Boxing Day
o Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are also predicted to be big online spending days with consumers expected to spend £225 million and £307 million respectively on these days

• How does this compare to December 2011 overall?

o 2011 was a record breaker in terms of online retail –UK consumers made 2.18 billion visits to retail websites and spent 343 million hours shopping online
o 2011’s biggest shopping day fell on Boxing Day, with an astonishing 96.2 million visits to retail sites, up 19.5 per cent year-on-year

How is Christmas Eve different this December?

o The leap year will also have a significant impact on Christmas Eve – a day that’s usually one of the worst performing for online retail. This year Christmas Eve should be much bigger for online retailers due to its Monday occurrence. Mondays are usually peak shopping days throughout the year and this is expected to be no exception
o As Christmas Eve is a working day, Experian and IMRG predict this will be a popular day for Click & Collect as shoppers pick up their last minute gifts. Searches for Click and Collect increased by 40 per cent in December 2012 compared to 2011.

“Christmas 2012 is on track to be another record-breaker for online retail, outstripping 2011 on all fronts,” commented James Murray, Digital Insight Manager at Experian Marketing Services. “The current market trends suggest that in the UK, Wednesday 26th December will be the biggest day for online retail, with an estimated 126 million visits to online retail outlets and a massive 17 million hours spent online shopping on this day alone. This will be the peak of online shopping in the UK so marketers need to make sure their campaigns are in place to maximise traffic on Boxing Day as consumers make the most of early sales offers: it’s not too late to promote special offers through email and social media. Understanding what people are interested in, the best channels to engage customers through and when to reach them will be crucial to success this season.”

Andrew McClelland, Managing Director at IMRG, commented: “The post-Christmas sales period actually starts on Christmas Eve online and, judging by these forecasts, it certainly finds a willing audience. Accessing retailer websites through always-on devices such as smartphones and tablets provides consumers with an easy way to check about returning a gift, or download digital content directly onto that device. Indeed, retailers have been telling us that tablet devices are among the biggest sellers this year. As consumers encounter a range of discounts and offers already available in the sales on these sites, it is not surprising that consumers will spend over £300 million even on Christmas Day itself this year; online, the Christmas shopping never really stops.”

Chris Webster, Head of Retail Consulting and Technology at Capgemini: “Online tills will be ringing all the way from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, including a massive £300 million spent on Christmas morning itself. Christmas Day will see a surge in online sales as new tablets and smartphones are put through their paces and vouchers are cashed in for virtual goods such as movies and music. This year we’re as likely to be downloading Queen’s Greatest Hits as watching the Queen’s speech.

“Online discounts are not yet at last year’s levels as retailers play a waiting game. Instead we’re seeing discounts directed at individual customers. As a result many shoppers are learning the benefits of patience, waiting for the Christmas Eve sales before getting the party started early. The busiest day will again be Boxing Day with a 50 per cent rise in online traffic as deep discounting is used to clear out remaining stock.”


Experian Hitwise Methodology: Based on UK internet data from an Experian Hitwise sample which monitors a quarter of the UK online population. The predictions are based on forecasts from internet growth over the last 12 months and historic visits data over the last two years.

The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index is the primary performance indicator of the UK’s online retail industry. Launched in April 2000, the Index tracks ‘online sales’, which are defined as ‘transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels’ from any location, including in-store. Around one hundred e-retailers now regularly contribute data to the Index.

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