The day public-sector workers went on strike in the UK over pensions – Wednesday, 30 November 2011 – turned out to be the most popular online shopping day in 2011, figures from BT’s retail specialist division, BT Expedite and Fresca, suggest.
The figures for the Christmas shopping period, from the retailers utilising systems supplied by BT Expedite and Fresca, show that 30 November online sales were up 163pc on an average day and 45pc higher than the same day last year.
The all-time online shopping high on 30 November 2011 is followed by the figures for Monday, 28 November 2011 and Monday, 5 December 2011, with daily sales up an average of 46pc on last year.
“Whether or not people were striking or working from home or simply unable to get to work because of the industrial action, it seems many decided November 30 was a good time to do their Christmas shopping online," said Richard Vining, head of performance for BT Fresca.
The Christmas shopping spell saw the highest-ever weekly, daily and hourly traffic volumes and transactions, with shoppers taking advantage of retailers’ promotional activity.
The two-week period at the end of November and the beginning of December was substantially busier than the peak Christmas period in 2010, the figures showed.
The holiday period saw a growing trend for “early week” shopping, with Sunday evenings and Mondays being particularly busy and the increasing use of targeted, time-dependant, only available for 24 hours “flash sales” by retailers.
“In 2011, there were a number of peaks in orders instead of just one as in previous years," Vining said.
"It’s striking that the week leading up to Christmas, historically a ‘no-go’ area for online Christmas shopping, is now coming into its own. Even as late as December 20, order volumes were still high, at least as high as the beginning of November. This is in part due to sharper delivery strategies, giving customers confidence their orders would arrive before the big day.”
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