The trend for online shoppers to move from browsing on mobile to buying will be highlighted this Christmas, according to the Adobe Digital Index (ADI) “2014 Holiday Shopping Predictions” report (PDF), published this week.
Christmas shopping from a tablet or smartphone is predicted to grow by 38% in Europe this year, with Denmark showing the fastest growth at 56%.
“In the past, people used their phones to browse and compare prices,” said Tyler White, an analyst at ADI. “Now they are using them to shop much more.”
This trend is most pronounced in the UK, where almost one online transaction in four will be made from a mobile device, closely followed by Ireland. The Nordic countries are almost as advanced, with 21% of online sales in Norway over the Christmas period predicted to come from mobile, and 19.5% of online sales in Sweden.
Within the mobile category, however, there is a marked difference between the use of smartphones and tablets. The ADI report predicts that 7% of online sales in the UK in the Christmas period will come from smartphones, compared with 17% coming from tablets.
The ADI report also predicts when Christmas shopping will begin across the continent, and noting the day when peak sales are the most likely. The season was expected to start earliest in the Nordic countries—on 2 November in Norway, 3 November in Finland, and 6 November in Denmark. Further south, Christmas shopping starts much later, not beginning until 25 November in Holland, the UK, and France. Sweden is the exception to the Nordic rule, as it also starts Christmas shopping on 25 November.
Peak trading days also vary across Europe. Christmas shopping is expected to peak on 1 December in the UK; in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria on 8 December; The Netherlands on 10 December; the following day in the Nordics; and in Belgium and Sweden on 15 December. The only country when the peak trading day comes after Christmas is France, where it falls on 7 January.
In terms of spend per head, the peak trading day is most important in Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland. Swedes are predicted to spend $12.95 per person on their peak shopping day, the Swiss $12.42, and the Finns $12.28.
“Swedish, Swiss, and Finnish customers are much more savvy about getting deals on their big shopping days,” White said. “They spend half as much again as the US consumers do on their biggest shopping day.”
ADI also brings together average price data across the Christmas period for the US, UK, and Germany.
“The US has a big drop in prices around Thanksgiving (27 November), but we don’t see that so much in the UK or Germany,” White said. “In Germany, there’s a gradual fall through December, with the biggest drop coming around 15 December.”
In the UK, the research shows a marked drop in early December, but then prices reach their lowest with a big fall on Christmas Eve, as UK retailers prepare for the slightly misleadingly titled “January Sales.”
Retailers across Europe depend on the Christmas sales boost to a limited degree. As White pointed out, together November and December account for 17% of the year, but in some countries, most notably Spain, sales during that period amount to about 15% of the annual total. At the other end of the scale, retailers in the UK, Ireland, and Germany make slightly over 20% of their annual sales in the Christmas period. By comparison, Brazil’s retailers are the most reliant in the world on the Christmas period. Holiday sales there account for almost a third of the annual total.
For more ADI holiday analysis around the world, read: “ADI Predicts $1.6B Total Mobile Sales For Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday.”
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