UK Online Retailers Predict 30 November as the Busiest Day for Christmas Sales

UK online retailers are predicting that 30 November will be the busiest day for sales this Christmas, research by Royal Mail has revealed.

The study into UK small and medium sized online retailers’ preparations for Christmas has revealed that the last Saturday in November is forecast to be the most popular day in the festive calendar for sales.

Competition for Sales in Cyberspace

UK SME online retailers see the most intense competition for sales coming from their cyber rivals – rather than the high street.

The Royal Mail study revealed 77 % of almost 500 UK SME online retailers surveyed said other websites were the biggest competitors this Christmas. Just 23 % said the High Street was the biggest challenger.

Pricing the Battleground for Festive Sales

The study also revealed that juggling profit with price promotions has been the biggest challenge facing online retailers when planning for a successful Christmas.

Three in ten (31 %) of UK SME online retailers said keeping prices competitive while still retaining a profit was their biggest challenge.

Despite this, price promotions will be the key battleground for online retailers seeking to tempt shoppers to part with their money this festive period. Almost half (44 %) of online retailers will be using price promotions to encourage shoppers to buy from them – making it the most popular marketing tactic being used by UK SME online retailers this Christmas. The number of UK SME online retailers using price promotions this Christmas is up 12 % on last year.

The study found that free delivery will be offered by 27 % of UK SME online retailers and 15 % will offer free returns. However, more than one third (34 %) of UK SME online retailers surveyed are not planning any promotions at all this festive season.

Rising to the Smartphone Challenge

To win their share of sales, online retailers have invested to make it easier for existing and potential customers to make their purchases when and where they want, even while on the move, this Christmas.The study found that one third of UK SME online retailers have invested in Apps and other IT upgrades to make it easier for people to buy from them through their Smartphone’s this Christmas.

Royal Mail has opened ten temporary parcel sort centres for the Christmas period as part of its festive operation. The parcel sort centres have been set up to sort a significant proportion of the parcels Royal Mail handles before they are distributed around the UK and delivered to the door by Royal Mail’s postmen and women.

Nick Landon, Managing Director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail and our customers. Our research shows UK SME online retailers have been planning extensively for the important Christmas period, responding to customer needs to ensure they win their share of sales.

“Royal Mail has also responded to ensure we handle parcels on behalf of online retailers and their shoppers as effectively as possible. Royal Mail has invested in ten temporary parcel sort centres to increase our scale and improve our flexibility during this important time of year for our customers.”

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