Online merchants reveal Christmas growth despite weather

Almost 40% of online merchants reported that their sales increased in the run up to Christmas, despite more than 50% of businesses saying that it was difficult to fulfill orders due to poor weather, according to research by Secure Trading.

50% of those businesses that reported an increase in sales said they had risen by up to a quarter on the previous year, with 28% reporting an increase of up to 10% and 22% reporting a rise of up to 25%. A further 12.5% stated that sales in the run up to Christmas had risen by between 26-50%.

Tim Allitt, Head of Sales & Marketing, Secure Trading, said, “The pre Christmas trading figures have been disappointing for many merchants. The monthly retail sales monitor for December from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG found like-for-like retail sales were down 0.3% on the year. However, our research shows that online merchants have gone from strength to strength, despite the challenges posed by the poor weather seen in November and December. With the continued growth of online shopping and the emergence of mobile commerce this area is only likely to see further growth.”

Atech Media, one of Secure Trading’s customers, took part in the survey. Adam Cooke, Managing Director at aTech Media, said, “As a global business taking payments from over 25 countries it’s important that we can take payments all year-round, particularly during the busy December period. Delivering a secure and fast service gives our customers peace of mind.”

The research also revealed that additional challenges in the run up to Christmas included the effects of poor customer confidence and difficulty in getting stock from suppliers due to poor weather. Some customers remained cautious throughout the period as they waited for the Sales to begin.

42% of customers surveyed reported that they offered incentives to customers over the Christmas period, such as discount codes and free delivery. However, 52% of these said they did not boost sales.

Allitt added, “Online merchants have had to work hard this Christmas due to the external challenges presented by the weather and poor customer confidence. However, they continue to rise to the challenge and, on the whole, deliver a speedy and convenient service.”