Over half of British retailers are expecting sales from mobile and tablet devices to rise rapidly during the run-up to Christmas, according to research by Barclays.
Some 65% of retailers also predict online traffic on Christmas Day will be 11% higher than last year, with surges of activity expected after lunch between 3pm and 4pm, as well as a peak between 8pm and 10pm.
Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said: “Christmas Day may be one of only two days a year when retailers are not physically able to throw open their doors, but that won’t stop consumers bagging sales bargains online. This means more festive cheer for retailers looking to maximise sales during the all-important Christmas period.”
Almost half of the 122 UK retailers surveyed by Barclays are worried about delivering presents to their customers. But there are hopes that solutions such as click-and-collect may solve the problem, as retailers predict the service to increase in popularity by over a third compared with last year.
The second biggest worry for 43% of retailers is whether websites will be able to cope with the increase in traffic. “Mega Monday”, which falls on 2 December this year, is likely to be the busiest trading day for online shopping, with 63% of high street retailers expecting website traffic to increase by 11%.
A report from IMRG and Capgemini last week predicted online retail spend would reach £10bn in December 2013. Although this period in the year is always busy for online retail, it will be the first time that December online retail figures will have broken the £10bn mark, according to the analysis.
Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said mobile devices have had a part to play in this increase in online sales.
“The impact of mobile devices in 2013 has been very significant, and this forecast is in direct response to the overwhelming growth we have seen in sales via tablets and smartphones over the last few years,” he said.
Technology gadgets are also expected to be sitting under the Christmas tree, with mobile devices and other gadgets (21%) predicted to be the most popular gifts, following by beauty (19%) and clothing (11.5%).