Amid the disappointing retail results out this week one aspect has been set aside somewhat, and it’s been a huge success. Online shopping.
According to internet retail insights by online research group Experian Hitwise, Christmas 2012 was our busiest retail season ever with traffic to shopping and classifieds sites receiving nearly 33 million visits on Boxing Day. That’s an increase of 65%, or 13 million, on the previous year.
The sharp increase in shopping wasn’t restricted to sales season either as Australians spent over 91 million hours on shopping sites over the month of December, two million more than in November.
Social media caught the Christmas fever too with Facebook registering an average of 23.1 million visits on the 24th and 25th of December, 21% higher than the previous year. Visits to YouTube were also 49% higher at around 13.3 million visits per day.
But all this traffic wasn’t randomly directed as online marketing campaigns blossomed over the period with nearly 13% of all shopping and classified clicks for the week ending 29th December paid.
That said, sales did play a big hand and will continue to do so with the latest Dun & Bradstreet research showing business selling price expectations at 24 month lows.
“Businesses are planning to negotiate the spending slump by extending discounting through the New Year and by managing their stock carefully,” says Dun & Bradstreet’s Danielle Woods.
“Although the most recent data has taken selling price expectations to a new low, it is part of a long downward trend that suggests ongoing discounting has become the new normal.”
Evidence of the current consumer appetite for sales, over December search clicks that included the words 'sale' or 'sales' were up 32% on the previous year.
But all this buoyancy in online business wasn’t necessarily at the cost of brick and mortar retailers, who still featured heavily in the traffic count. It’s more a matter of those traditional retailers with an online presence benefiting most.
In fact, the fastest moving shopping site between Christmas and Boxing Day was Harvey Norman which spiked by 68% from one day to the other, with total visits on Boxing Day climbing to over 460,000.
The lesson here is obvious, business builders. Embrace the move online or miss out.
Because with over 90 million shoppers walking past your shop over a 31 day period, you’re bound to have at least a few click through.
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