Boxing Day got post-Christmas online retail off to a flying start with internet sales totalling an estimated £265 million, according to the latest research.
Online fraud prevention company Retail Decisions expects a strong end to the year for e-tailers, with a 23 per cent year-on-year increase in online trade for November and December.
Bricks and mortar retailers fared less well this Boxing Day, with research company Synovate’s Retail Traffic Index showing daily footfall at non-food stores down 22.8 per cent from 2009.
Things improved on December 27th with 41 per cent of retailers surveyed experiencing year-on-year footfall growth but overall consumer traffic levels were still 7.1 per cent down from the same day last year.
“Retailers knew that Boxing Day this year was never going to be as busy in the shops as last year, given the restricted hours of trading on Sundays,” commented Tim Denison, Director of Retail Intelligence at Synovate.
“But they might have been expecting a little bit more from yesterday than they managed. In actual fact it was a bouillabaisse of a Boxing Day, with great variation in footfall levels around the regions.”
Regional disparities in footfall were huge post-Christmas with London seeing double digit year-on-year growth in shopping numbers on December 27th, whilst in the south-west of England footfall fell 27 per cent and in eastern England it declined 19.9 per cent.
Hope still runs high for retailers that the next week will see huge sales numbers, and new survey data from price comparison site Pricegrabber.co.uk reveals nearly a third of British consumers plan to make panic purchases of big-ticket items prior to the VAT increase next week.
Denison added: “We fully anticipate this week to be the busiest of the year and Monday 27th December to be the busiest day of the year for UK retailers.
“All the signs are favourable: the weather is expected to improve, some leftover Christmas shopping is still to be done, the VAT rise is just round the corner, and strong competition and promotional campaigns will encourage bargain hunting by the masses.”