Online Christmas shopping in UK forecast to hit £17.7bn, Adobe reports

Adobe today released its 2015 Adobe® Digital Index Online Holiday Shopping Prediction for this year’s Christmas shopping season, defined as the entire months of November and December. The data analysis – based on more than one trillion visits to 4,500 retail websites over the last seven years – predicts that UK consumers will spend £17.7bn online this Christmas, a 7% increase over the previous year.

According to this report, the UK will have the largest peak online shopping day in Europe with a total projected spend of £474m on Black Friday (27 November). On this day, the average online spend per person will be £8.06.

Online and mobile remain significant for Christmas spend

More than half (57%) of Christmas shopping is predicted to be online, according to a separate survey of 400 UK consumers. Low prices/good deals remains the biggest driver to shop online, with over two thirds (67%) of consumers ranking this among their top two motivators. Shopping across mobile devices remains steady and, this year, it’s predicted that almost a quarter (23%) of UK Christmas shopping will occur through a smartphone or tablet. This positions the UK as second in Europe when it comes to embracing mobile as a way to pay at this time of year.

Keep calm and carry on shopping

There are signs this year of consumers becoming more efficient and less stressed about Christmas shopping thanks to purchasing online. Almost a quarter (24%) of UK shoppers expect to spend less time this year searching for their perfect presents, and over a quarter (27%) have said they feel they have gotten more efficient at Christmas shopping.

5Online shopping is consistently seen as less stressful than shopping in physical stores. Almost a quarter (24%) of UK consumers rated offline shopping as “extremely stressful” compared to just 6% for online. However, almost one in five (19%) people still find buying products on their mobile phone stressful.

5Product reviews important for purchases 
Adobe’s report shows that product reviews have emerged as a key factor in the customer journey. Nearly half of respondents in the UK (45%) said product reviews are among the top two influences when considering a major purchase. Social media is identified as a key component to delivering product reviews, with more UK consumers turning to social to find out which products are “the best” (43%) compared to last year (25%).

When will prices plummet?

Across Europe, the Christmas shopping season is shifting as consumers turn to online shopping increasingly more throughout the year. This is largely driven by women, where almost a third (31%) plan to start shopping before 1 November this year, compared to one in five (22%) of women doing so last year. In the UK, early online Christmas shopping remains stable at 28%, but there is an indication that more people this year won’t begin until the second half of November or later.

According to Adobe’s report, UK prices will fall gradually throughout the holiday season, with a significant drop in the lead up to Black Friday. They hit their lowest point towards the end of December.

“This year’s report once again underscores the importance of the Christmas shopping season as a driver for ecommerce across Europe, giving consumers the ability to take advantage of low prices, retailer offers and product variety without battling crowds on the High Street,” said Mark Zablan, president Adobe EMEA. “But consumers aren’t just looking for the best deal, the report this year indicates that they are increasingly looking at product reviews and social media to guide their Christmas purchases. This is an important insight for European retailers. They need to find ways of going beyond deals to create meaningful opportunities to engage with consumers throughout the customer journey that will drive them to the point of purchase. Social media is a key channel to achieve that.”

The Adobe Online Shopping Prediction is based on an analysis of 55m product SKUs, and aggregated and anonymous data of more than one trillion visits to 4,500 retail websites over the last seven years. The breadth of data makes it the most accurate forecast in the industry. A separate survey of over 400 consumers in the UK was also conducted.