BT’s online retail clients deliver record Christmas

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Christmas trading by value

Online stores for leading fashion and lifestyle brands including Coast, Habitat, Karen Millen, Matches Fashion, The Perfume Shop, Snow+Rock, TJ Hughes and Warehouse, developed by BT Fresca, enjoyed a record Christmas in 2010.

The results build on strong performances in 2008 and 2009, with the busiest day on 2 December 2010, when sales at a subset of retailers on the FrescaCommerce platform eclipsed £2m. According to BT, many of these brands experienced their busiest ever days during the festive period, both in terms of order volumes and value. The figures show a steady increase in order volumes through November and into December, with the main Christmas shopping peak occurring in early December, it said.

“It’s interesting the busiest day in 2010 was earlier and more pronounced than previous years,” said Richard Vining, head of quality assurance and performance. “This suggests people may be more prepared and are shopping online in a more planned way.

“The flipside is retailers are also getting better at marketing campaigns and increasingly reference their websites when advertising on other media. So there’s a definite increase in promotional activity – both in terms of frequency and type. And their campaigns are starting much earlier than they used to.”

Vining said heavily hyped and well-publicised predictions for the UK’s busiest online trading day, such as Amazon UK’s black Friday deals week (22 November), Kelkoo’s manic Monday (29 November), IMRG’s super Sunday (5 December) and Play.com’s mega Monday (6 December), helped to fuel BT’s thumping Thursday (2 December).

A second peak in trading also occurred around the 15 December, as online shoppers scrambled to meet Christmas delivery deadlines. BT said this tends to be people who haven’t planned their Christmas shopping and those who may have done the bulk of their Christmas shopping and are now picking up last minute gifts, accessories or party clothes.

Christmas trading by volume

This corresponds with a large value peak but low volume spike at this time. This shows the average order value is high, so people are buying a lot of items per order.

There is also a peak on Boxing Day, as post-Christmas sales are officially launched. BT said Boxing Day 2010 turned out to be its third busiest day ever by order volume.