Online sales over the Christmas period between November 1 and December 1 were estimated by IMRG and Capgemini to reach £24bn, 12% higher than the same time last year, and slightly ahead of the 2015 twelve month average of 11% which totaled £114bn. It is estimated by the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index that 27% of retail sales now take place online and in 2016 11% growth in e-commerce equating to £126bn is predicted. The busiest period according to the Index was Black Friday week that started November 22 with estimated sales of £4.3bn, up by 62% which was well ahead of the 44% growth recorded during the same period in 2014 and 20% in 2013.
The growth in 2015 had been driven by the rise of m-commerce which grew by 42% during the year and 45% of sales were made via a mobile device in the third quarter of the year. What is more, IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index estimated that growth in online retail parcel volumes beat industry forecasts in 2015, finishing 15.7% up compared to the previous year. The end of the year came with a record of 1.065 billion parcels dispatched, of which an estimated 260 million were handled through the peak trading period in November and December. That was about 10m ahead of forecasts. ‘On time’ delivery performance remained at a record high of 92% throughout the peak period.
Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG said “92% of deliveries were made on-time during peak, a significant improvement on 89% in the same period last year. It’s a testament to all the hard work that the industry has put in over the past year. The key focus areas for fulfillment operations includes improving returns management, creating new capacity including the wider adoption of third party click & collect, better transparency for cross-border deliveries and wider provision of in-transit delivery information.”
Alex Smith-Bingham, head of digital, Capgemini said: “2015 has been another massive year in terms of consumer spending, but what the index reveals is just how dominant the online channels have become. In just two years Black Friday has shifted from a high-street event to an online one, with retailers extending their discounting over a week, rather than a single day. We also saw mobile confirm its role as a primary shopping channel, providing consumers with an unprecedented level of convenience. In 2016 I’m confident we’ll see this influence increase even further with mobile representing over half of all sales made online.”