Almost a Billion to be spent on Mobile Devices during Christmas Peak Weeks

| Press release
Online retailers are preparing for strong spending as the Christmas shopping peak approaches, with consumers forecast to spend £4.6bn online over the two weeks commencing 3rd & 10th December according to IMRG and Capgemini.
  • £4.6bn forecast to be spent online during shopping peak weeks (w/c 3rd & 10th Dec)
  • 20% of that (£920m) expected to be through mobile devices (including tablets)
  • Estimate 15% up on same period last year

Just under a billion of that figure (£920m) is expected to go through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), after the popularity of making purchases through the channel has accelerated throughout the year. In the first quarter of 2012, 8.2% of total e-retail sales were made through a mobile device; by the end of the fourth quarter we anticipate that figure will have reached around 20%.

The two peak weeks of online shopping activity are expected to account for 26-27% of total e-retail sales during the final 9 weeks of the year (making up £4.6bn of the £17.4bn for the period).

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, commented: “What we are seeing in this 20% mobile forecast is a shift in the way that consumers interact with brands online. While it is still common for consumers to browse the shops at weekends before making the final purchase online at Monday lunchtime, we are increasingly seeing the popularity of ‘second-screening’, where people browse on their mobile devices in front of the TV. Our recent research with eDigitalResearch found 80% of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices in this way, so we can expect to see that 20% share continue to grow in 2013.”

Chris Webster, Head of Retail and Technology at Capgemini, said: “The ramp up of online sales rung up by retailers during the peak weeks will be of huge relief following the challenges of the summer period; from spending constraints to Olympic sized distractions. Retailers need to gear up for the twin peaks of online sales in early December and in-store sales which follow.

“We have seen this year, that mobile access is a must have, not a nice to have for retailers, with close to a billion pounds set to be spent via mobile devices this Christmas. Indeed, our research conducted in partnership with the MIT Center for Digital Business discovered that the most digitally advanced brands are 26% more profitable than competitors. Christmas 2012 will illustrate this better than ever before.”

IMRG and Capgemini forecast that the peak weeks will fall on w/c 3rd & 10th December this year, which is a week later than in 2011. The reason for this is that payday for many people will fall after the final Monday in November (26th).

The two Mondays falling within the peak period are technically expected to be the biggest for many online retailers, but the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index recorded heightened sales activity over the whole two-week period during the past few years.

There does appear to be a phenomenon whereby some retailers see different peak days to others. Amazon for example is anticipating Mon 3rd Dec to be their peak, while eBay usually see theirs on a Sunday (see quote below). In October, IMRG surveyed 25 senior e-commerce professionals to see when they thought their peaks would be; 44% said w/c 10th Dec, 22% said 3rd Dec and 22% said 26th Nov.

Olivier Ropars, senior director, Mobile, eBay commented: “This will be another record-breaking great Sunday for eBay UK with sales volumes around six times as high as on an average Sunday in September. Technology, and particularly mobile, have become catalysts for growth and have changed the way that we shop for good. The high street as we knew it, where the ‘showroom’ inside the four walls of the store was the centre of our shopping experience, has transformed forever. Consumers now carry a global store in their pocket allowing them to shop anytime, anywhere.

“This year over half (55%)* of UK consumers plan to use their mobile device more than they did last year to browse the web, while almost the same number say they’ll use mobile devices to get inspiration, check prices or product details (39%)*. At eBay, we’re expecting that 30%** of all purchases made on the site this Christmas will be through mobile devices – leaving no doubt that mobile retail remains firmly on the rise among Britain’s hoards of shoppers.”

There are external influencing factors that can cause a shift in consumer behaviour, such as that which occurred in 2010 with the heavy snowfall that drove consumers online earlier than expected.

Notes to Editors

* Research commissioned by eBay, conducted by Conlumino in October 2012 into consumer attitudes to mobile shopping (a nationally representative sample of 2,000 consumers)

** eBay forecast data

About IMRG

IMRG (Interactive Media In Retail Group) is the UK’s industry association for e-retail. Formed in 1990, IMRG is setting and maintaining pragmatic and robust e-Retail Standards to enable fast-track industry growth, and facilitates its community of members with practical help, information, tools, guidance and networking. The strength of IMRG is the collective and co-operative power of its members.

About Capgemini

With more than 120,000 people in 40 countries, Capgemini is one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2011 global revenues of EUR 9.7 billion. Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business and technology solutions that fit their needs and drive the results they want. A deeply multicultural organisation, Capgemini has developed its own way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM, and draws on Rightshore®, its worldwide delivery model.

Learn more about us at www.capgemini.com.

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