James Perrin

Mega Monday: E-Commerce Boom and High Street Gloom

28th Nov 2011 News, Industry News 3 minutes to read

Paying OnlineToday is known as Mega Monday or Cyber Monday in the US. It marks the biggest shopping day online as consumers turn to their desktops, laptops and mobile devices to buy their Christmas gifts in time to be delivered for the big day.

As Mega Monday kicks off in, it has been forecasted as the biggest online shopping day of the year, where 3,300 orders can be made every minute according to Visa. What it also marks is the rise of e-commerce and how it has totally changed the consumer landscape, leaving the high street shops emptier than ever before.

The Rise of E-commerce and fall of High Street Sales

According to statistics from the Centre for Retail Research in 2010 online sales in the UK were at £44 billion, which is 10.7% of the UK retail trade. In 2011, this has increased by 14%, taking sales to £50.3 billion, rising e-commerce to 12% of retail trade.

According to figures from Visa, today is the day where online sales will peak. 4.8 million transactions are predicted to be made, spending a whopping £303 million on their debit and credit cards. It’s a time when many people will be paid, on the last Monday of the month; and a time when consumers know they will buy in time for the goods to be delivered.

Online sales will make up 25% of total UK Christmas spend this year, where £8,960 million will be spent online. More interesting statistics from the Centre for Retail Research surrounding people’s consumer intentions show that  72% of people intended to use online retailers to buy goods this Christmas (up 5% from last year) and 38% of people said they would buy all of their Christmas good online.

There are many other reasons why people turn to online shopping; citing that the comfort of their own home and the ease at which they can shop are what motivates them to buy from Internet retailers. But it’s the stress attached to the high street and the hustle and bustle of the shops that’s putting off consumers where a fifth of Brits find high street shopping more stressful than commuting and whilst others prefer a visit to the dentist over high street shopping according sales website showroomprive.co.uk.

The boom of e-commerce over the festive period stands in stark contrast to sales on the high street. Figures from the Centre for Retail Research also show that high street sales have fallen by 2.1%. And it won’t be long until more than 50% of Christmas purchases will be made online. The research group predict that 2015 (and assuming there is a 24% online spend growth rate) will be known as the first online Christmas. Whilst this doesn’t mean that shoppers will no longer flock to the high streets, it just means that the majority of purchases made will be online.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Whilst many retailers would have prepared themselves for the mass onslaught of visits to their websites, others will either have played down the effects, resulting in a whole host of errors and poor user experience stories like Walmart last week with Black Friday (a day of retail deals in the US, in actual stores but increasingly online too).

This also points to those retailers who are simply missing the boat all together [See: Opinion: Many UK Retailers Not Converting The Black Friday Sales Hype]. Whilst this is referring to something entirely different to Mega Monday, it does suggest whether or not some retailers in the UK will be significantly prepared for the rise in traffic, if not they may lose out on some good revenue.

In any case, statistics have shown that the growing trend is to buy online. What this means for the future of the high street is unclear. Whilst they may not be able to provide shoppers with the ease of buying online, there may be a lot more they can do to enhance the shopping experience. Regardless though, we are heading towards an online Christmas sooner rather than later.

Image Source

Writing on a white laptop via BigStock

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