After the summer lull, it’s full steam ahead in the run up to the Christmas rush. For many online sellers, this will be the busiest time of the whole year. For most, the planning may have already began, and in many cases, the planning phase will already be over.
The traditional scene of people heading to the shops in droves is still alive, but more and more people are shunning wet weekends on the high street and busy car parks and instead going online to buy their Christmas presents. They can buy faster, more cheaply and whenever and wherever they want – the perfect antidote to those stressful days at the shopping centre.
Christmas in the UK
Last year was the best ever holiday season for Amazon, with a record breaking 36.8 million items ordered worldwide (that’s 426 items per second). In the third week of December alone, more than 1 million customers around the world became Prime members. This resulted in more Prime items being shipped worldwide than ever before on Amazon’s peak shipping day.
This Christmas, online spending will continue to soar. Economists predict that with a stronger economy this year, increased spending powers will translate into solid holiday sales. According to shop.org, online sales could grow as much as 11% this Christmas period, a significant increase from last year’s 8% increase. With consumers expected consumers to spend, on average £345 on gifts this year, there’s all to play for online sellers.
25% of Brits said they will be shopping online more this year for Christmas, and according to Sage Pay Online, spending will top £13bn for the first time this Christmas period.
In 2014, it is estimated that in the UK alone there will be an additional 9 million internet users taking the total to around 17 million by the end of 2014. This increase will take the value of the online retail market in the UK to approximately £56 billion.
A key part of this growth is the increased popularity of shopping online via smartphones and tablets. With 41% of consumers shopping via smartphones and 35% shopping on tablets.
This year, Amazon will be taking on 2,500 temporary workers for Christmas at its Rugeley base in Staffordshire, 100 more than last year. In 2013 Amazon created around 15,000 temporary positions to cope with demand during the Christmas period. While the major online marketplaces are getting ready for the rush, smaller businesses will also want to make sure they’re prepared.
Christmas in Europe
Christmas is set to be even better for those selling to more than one country; sales in France and Germany are predicted to have grown by 16.5% and 22% respectively during 2014. European online sales for 2014 are set to total over £130 billion, and as mentioned, the UK is expected to account for over £50 billion of that. With delivery and return costs to Europe getting more affordable, expanding into Europe is proving one of the best ways you can grow your business, and for those already selling to Europe it’s set to be a bumper Christmas! It’s worth checking out companies such as Trade 196, which specialise in selling online to Europe, offering services to help you choose the most suitable market to target through to the building of e-Commerce systems, multilingual marketing and support.
With euro currently struggling, those importing goods from the Eurozone will be able to get a lot more for their money. But those who are selling in Europe and want to repatriate their profits from local bank accounts to their UK one will be hoping that euro recovers so that their euros translate into more pounds. World First can bring your money home at better exchange rates, so you keep more of your money.
Here’s hoping your business has a profitable Christmas and with 2015 set to be an even better year, maybe you should make selling to other countries in Europe your New Year’s resolution!