December 13 the magic day for online Christmas retail, but is it just filling the “donut hole”?

Five tricks retailers can use to snap up shoppers this Christmas

Online retailers in Australia and New Zealand can expect December 13 to be a “bonanza” for online shopping, according to a new report.

Data from Adobe’s 2016 Holiday Shopping Predictions: Europe and Asia Pacific report predicts the second Tuesday in December will see shoppers spend $236 million on online purchases, up 60% from typical spending seen over the Christmas period.

Read more: Here comes record-breaking Christmas spending: Is your business ready for the rush?

Overall, the report attributes online shopping growth to the ever-increasing use of smartphones and tablets by consumers, with two-thirds of those surveyed stating they are more willing to shop online thanks to retailers optimising the experience for smart devices.

This could be a timely reminder for e-commerce-focused businesses to make sure their websites are mobile friendly or even consider building an app, with 48% of respondents saying they believed mobile apps offer better shopping experiences than traditional web browsers.

The report was built from a survey of over 800 Internet users in Australia and New Zealand.

“This data speaks plainly – the future of Christmas shopping is online, and it’s increasingly mobile. In fact, in Australia and New Zealand, retail is one of the leading sectors for smartphone traffic and one of the fastest growing sectors for average mobile conversion year-on-year growth,” said Managing Director for Adobe Australia and New Zealand Chris Skelton in a statement.

“More and more, Australian consumers have no need to push through the crowds at busy bricks-and-mortar stores, as they are aware that better deals, a wider selection of products and cheap home delivery are all available from the device in their pocket.”

The “donut hole” of retail

However, retail analyst at Retail Oasis Pippa Kulmar believes December 13 fills the “donut hole” left by bricks-and-mortar retailers around the Christmas period.

“Christmas retail is anecdotally donut-like. In late November retailers often see a spike in shoppers as everyone gets in pre-emptively for Christmas. Then there’s a lull in the early weeks of December, before another massive spike just before Christmas itself,” Kulmar told SmartCompany.

“Online retail is now stepping up to fill that hole in the donut, and the date of the 13th is likely due to consumers knowing they should allow 5-7 days for shipping at Christmas time.”

Despite the early December online rush, Kulmar says that the majority of Christmas shopping is done last-minute.

“Bricks and mortar stores often go quiet in those first few weeks before Christmas, and then you’ll see a number of them go on sale right before the day itself,” she says.

“A lot of them expect traffic to be consistent all throughout the Christmas period, but the majority of shopping is still done last minute.”

Although all signs are pointing to the big future of online retail, Kulmar believes that bricks and mortar shopping will still be a Christmas time hit.

“There’s still something quite exciting with shopping around Christmas, with all the music and crowds,” she says.

“On top of that, department stores try to create experiential things, like visiting Santa, to keep people coming in.”

The growing popularity of shopping from your desk

The report also reveals that more Australians and New Zealanders are shopping from their workplace. Eleven percent of those surveyed ranked shopping from work as a key driver for online purchases, up from 4% in 2015.

Kulmar believes this is thanks to a “blurring of work and life”, with more workers staying longer hours and needing to get more done at work.

“At my last workplace the management had to stop the dispatch boys from delivering parcels to everyone’s desks because people were doing so much online shopping at work,” she says.

“Workers overall give more time to work, so businesses should recognise that. It is fine to do a bit of Christmas shopping during work time.”

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