Christmas is just around the corner, which inevitably means analysts and research groups have begun making predictions about how much online retail will be worth this festive season. 

The general consensus is positive for online retail, with various research firms predicting a rise in spending in the US and UK markets. For advice on how to make the most of the busy period check out our 35 tips for increasing your Christmas conversions.

And here's a round up of the various surveys and predictions…

Loss of sales due to 4G

  • Online retailers stand to lose £120m in mobile sales due to the failure to roll out a universal 4G connection, according to research from eBay.
  • EBay expects to see around a third of items in its Christmas campaign bought through a smartphone.
  • But its research predicts that improved internet speeds from the rollout of 4G could have increased overall m-commerce sales in the UK by around a third, up to £493m from £373m.
  • The top three barriers preventing consumers from shopping on their mobiles are slow connection speeds, payments timing out and network reliability, which could all be remedied to some extent by 4G networks.
  • The report also found that this Christmas more than half (55%) of consumers plan to use their mobile device more than they did last year to browse the web, while 39% say they will use their device to check prices or product details.

Google’s retail survey

  • Last month Google published the findings of a survey which found that US consumers please to spend $900 on holiday shopping this year compared to $854 in 2011.
  • When asked what electronics or technology they planned to purchase this year, the most popular answers were a laptop (39%) or tablet (38%), while just 17% plan to buy a desktop.
  • The internet is seen as the most useful information source for holiday shopping (80%), followed by store fliers (60%) and in-store displays (51%).

  • Among smartphone users, 45% said they plan to use the device to compare prices, 44% to find a nearby store and 39% will look for coupons on their phone.
  • In comparison, 56% of tablet owners said they will compare prices on their device, 48% will read reviews and 45% will purchase an item.

November is busiest month for search

  • After analysing data from Christmas 2011, Marin Software has predicted that 3 December will be the day that most UK purchases are made online.
  • However November will be the busiest period for consumers searching online to get gift ideas, so retailers should already have implemented their Christmas offers and search campaigns.

M-commerce worth £1bn

  • UK consumers will spend about £4.6bn online in the two weeks between 3 and 17 December, according to IMRG and Capgemini.
  • Just under a £1bn of that figure (£920m) is expected to go through smartphones and tablets.
  • The two peak weeks of online shopping activity are expected to account for 26-27% of total e-commerce sales during the final nine weeks of the year (making up £4.6bn of the £17.4bn for the period).

Online shopping boost for FedEx

  • FedEx expects to ship 280m packages in the US between Thanksgiving and Christmas, up 13% from 2011, thanks to an increase in online shopping.
  • It has predicted that 10 December will be its busiest day with 19m shipments, up 10% from last year.
  • The increase in holiday shipments will be driven by sales of personal electronics, luxury goods and clothes from e-commerce sites.

Amazon braced for Cyber Monday

  • Amazon has predicted that Monday 3 December will be the UK’s busiest day for internet sales, with orders set to peak at 9.20pm. 
  • Last year’s Cyber Monday was 5 December, when received orders for more than 3m items, a rate of around 35 items ordered per second.

US shopping trends

  • The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase 4.1%, the smallest increase since 2009 when sales went up just 0.3%
  • Research firm eMarketer forecasts online holiday sales will grow 16.8%, excluding travel purchases.
David Moth

Published 12 November, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (4)



Interesting that 4G is so highly rated by what could be considered a neutral source, but I do wonder whether the fact that some (high?) percentage of smartphone transactions will occur over WiFi in the home has been factored in.

over 5 years ago



re the ebay report, is that £120M of incremental sales lost, or will the £120M simply be spent online and in-store as it would've been had 4G never existed? Sounds a bit of a sensationalist headline to me.

over 5 years ago


Stacie Levy, Kenshoo

The build-up to Christmas is an increasingly noisy space online as brands compete for consumer attention and intention. Many marketing budgets will have been stored up for this period which makes it an imperative to stick to online advertising best practice: Be eye-catching and include a clear call to action, but most of all be relevant.

Our research demonstrates that half of all online Christmas sales conversions are now driven by search advertising and UK retailers enjoyed a return on pay-per-click (PPC) spend of £13.21 during the festive shopping season in 2011. As an industry we’re clearly doing something right, but we can always do better and this space is getting increasingly crowded and competitive as advertisers recognise the value of paid search.

Kenshoo recently ran a webinar on Christmas PPC advertising best practice and it’s not too late to fine-tune your tactics. The webinar can be found here It’s also worth remembering that the shopping – and therefore the ads – don’t stop at Christmas. Two-thirds (66%) of UK online transactions in the last two weeks of December 2011 were driven by search advertising -with impressive conversion rates of 50% as consumers looked for bargains. However, many retailers had already spent their budgets with a 4% drop in spend. Don’t neglect the post-Christmas shoppers!

over 5 years ago



I tend to agree with the comments from Gridlock and Kevin. You cannot lose something you never had in the first place. And the majority of smartphone purchases are indeed made over wifi. eBay of course is not a traditional retailer but £120m - that seems a bit far fetched.

over 5 years ago

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