“The 2015 Christmas period is on track to be another record year for online retail"

“The 2015 Christmas period is on track to be another record year for online retail"

UK shoppers are expected to spend GBP1.07bn (US$1.65bn) in online shopping on Black Friday (27 November) this year, a rise of almost a third on last year, new figures show.

Increased consumer awareness of discounting by retailers around the pre-Christmas shopping dates will push Black Friday sales up 32% on last year's GBP810m, Experian and online retail industry association IMRG have predicted.

Other main pre-Christmas shopping days, such as Cyber Monday (30 November) and Manic Monday (7 December), will also see an uplift in spending.

"The 2015 Christmas period is on track to be another record year for online retail in the UK," said James Miller, senior retail consultant at Experian. "We expect that Black Friday will continue to break new ground for online shopping, passing the billion pound mark for the first time. With consumers now expecting great bargains and trouble free service, retailers must ensure they have planned their marketing strategies and logistics around these key dates, with carefully prepared cross-channel campaigns, engaging the right customers, via the right media."

The research also identified two consumer groups driving the growth in festive spending. Time pressed, middle income families were the driving force behind pre-Christmas sales in 2014, which saw over GBP810m spent on Black Friday alone. In contrast, shoppers on Boxing Day and New Year's Day are more likely to be younger, urban consumers.

"These findings have significant implications for retailers," the study noted. "Last year, the majority of shoppers in the early-season Black Friday sales period were found to be living outside the major city centres in more rural locations. As a result, added emphasis needs to be placed on logistical planning and delivery services. However, bargain-hunters on Boxing Day and New Year's Day are likely to require more support and service in-store, and in-person."