Chasm in opinion between consumers and retailers this Christmas

Chasm in opinion between consumers and retailers this Christmas
Retailers need to deal with online issues now or risk losing out on revenue. image(c)iStockphoto.com/DmitriyAseev

By Michael Somerville - 10:30AM - Tue 20th August 2013

Britain’s retailers could struggle for a slice of the online sales market this Christmas, according to comparative research commissioned by Peerius.

The survey, which sampled over 2000 adults and 25 leading online retailers, found that retailers were expecting strong online sales growth this Christmas. 88 per cent expected online sales to grow by 20 per cent or more whilst 25 per cent expect online sales to grow by 50 per cent or more.

However, consumers harbour much more cautious plans. Two thirds (66 per cent) of consumers online who think they will spend online this Christmas expect to spend “the same as last year”, 16 per cent expect to spend less than they did in 2012 and just 17 per cent expect to spend more. Of those expecting to spend more, the average increase is 26 per cent. Overall, the results paint a picture that falls well short of the 18 per cent online sales increase that helped many retailers to weather the storm of disastrous in-store sales last December.

The study also found that consumers’ top online retail pet hate was websites with pop-up advertising. Badly organised websites were also a strong cause for annoyance. Surprisingly, websites that are difficult to use on a mobile phone only received 7 per cent of the vote. Recent reports suggest that mobile phone internet audience share has doubled since the first quarter of 2012.

In addition, when asked what would make them more likely to shop online than in-store, 43 per cent indicated ‘flexible delivery options’.

Roger Doddy, Director at Peerius said: “These findings are a timely reminder for retailers that there is absolutely no room for complacency. If retailers are to deliver the online sales performance they are hoping for, and on which survival may well depend, the hard work starts now because it appears that delivering growth will mean taking a larger share of spend, rather than benefiting from significantly higher spending overall.

“Last year, brands like John Lewis and House of Fraser showed that very significant online revenue increases at Christmas depend on delivering highly engaging online experiences, whilst Arcadia has already demonstrated that effective personalisation can deliver significant growth. Plenty of brands will have to follow those examples if they are to avoid disappointment when the numbers are added up after Christmas.”

Yesterday, the first online dip for 13 years was announced as the heatwave drove shoppers outside.

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