Christmas 2013 proved to be a record-breaking period for several multichannel retailers as the trend for shopping online rather than in-store continued apace.

However for some brands the increase in online sales didn't necessarily translate to an increase in profits.

All these stats and more are rounded up in more detail below, including financial results from John Lewis and Debenhams, as well as data from IBM showing the rise in m-commerce...

Online sales up 22.6% at John Lewis

  • John Lewis has reported that total sales were £734m for the five weeks to 28 December 2013, up 7.2% compared with last year, or 6.9% on a like-for-like basis.
  • Online sales for the five weeks were 22.6% up on last year with accounting for 31.8% of the total John Lewis business during this period. Click & Collect orders were up 61.8% up on last year.
  • The five weeks saw a number of records fall. Black Friday (29 November) was the biggest ever day for online orders, the final pre-Christmas week (ending 21 December) broke the £160m barrier for the first time and the first day of Clearance in branches (27 December) was the biggest ever day for our shops and the business as a whole, taking £35.6m.
  • On Christmas Day, traffic from mobile phones and tablets made up three quarters of total traffic, overtaking that from desktops by a considerable margin.

UK goes shopping on Boxing Day

  • Data from Experian Hitwise shows that Boxing Day 2013 was the biggest and busiest day ever for online retailers in the UK.
  • British internet users made 129m visits to retail websites on Boxing Day, a 15% year-on-year increase, making 26 December the biggest online shopping day ever. 
  • UK consumers spent 17m hours browsing and shopping online on Boxing Day, contributing to a total of 44.3m hours shopping online across Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
  • There were 90m online retail visits on Christmas Eve 2013 (up 6% year-on-year) and 114m online retail visits on Christmas Day (up 6% year-on-year).

Postcode lookups show online Christmas shopping boom

  • Data from Postcode Anywhere found that twice as many consumers headed online this Christmas Day compared to the same period last year. 
  • The firm reveals how over 1.5m addresses were captured via its online data platform on Christmas Day, compared to just 621,083 the year before. 
  • However this was eclipsed by Boxing Day where almost 3m delivery addresses were captured. This represents almost a 300% increase from the 1m addresses looked up last year.
  • Of the customers looking to validate their addresses, over 32% used either a mobile or tablet device.

IBM finds mobile and online shopping up again on Boxing Day

  • A majority of Boxing Day traffic to UK retail websites came from mobile devices, according to IBM. But while tablets drove sales, smartphones proved to be the most popular device for browsing. 
  • The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark reveals that on Thursday 26 December online sales increased by 40.4% compared to Boxing Day 2012.
  • Mobile traffic grew to 58% of all online traffic, an increase of 42% over 2012. Sales completed via mobile devices were also strong, growing 63% year over year, and exceeding 45% of total online sales.
  • Smartphones drove 29.9% of all online traffic versus tablets at 28%. When it came to making purchases, tablet users drove 29.4% of online sales, which was nearly twice that of smartphones users, who drove 15.8%. 
  • AOV (average order value) on tablets was £83.55 while AOV on all mobile phones was £78.06.

House of Fraser reports best ever Christmas sales

  • House of Fraser enjoyed its best Christmas trading period on record, driven largely by a jump in online sales.
  • Like-for-like sales for the three weeks to 28 December rose 7.3%, with online sales up by almost 57.7%.

Record-setting season for Amazon Prime

  • Amazon announced a record-setting holiday season for Amazon Prime, the annual membership program offering unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on millions of items. 
  • More than 1m customers around the world became new Prime members in the third week of December. On Amazon’s peak shipping day, more Prime items were shipped worldwide than ever before. 
  • The entire 2013 holiday season was the best ever for Amazon, with more than 36.8m items ordered worldwide on Cyber Monday, which is a record-breaking 426 items per second.

Debenhams reports increased online sales but drop in profits

  • Retail chain Debenhams has reported that online sales increased by 27% for the 17 week period to 28 December 2013.
  • Overall online sales accounted for 15.6% of total sales compared with 12.4% for the same period last year. However, online delivery income was lower than anticipated.
  • This means that, despite the increase in commerce revenues, Debenhams' pre-tax profits for the six months to April 2014 are expected to reach £85m, down from £115m in the same period in 2013.
David Moth

Published 2 January, 2014 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 (5)

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Interesting round up of Christmas performance, thanks David.

Like JLP, we had a similarly mobile Christmas. On Christmas day our traffic split was:
33% Desktop
39% Mobile
28% Tablet

I spotted one particularly interesting trend on Boxing Day, mobile actually peaked at 10am, compared to last year at 8pm.

Next week will be interesting, as we get back to normal, we'll then be able to see how the device mix has been changed by the Christmas period.

over 4 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Managing Editor at Barclaycard

Very interesting stuff, thanks Stuart!

over 4 years ago


Phil Reed

Very interesting round-up. One other stat from the JPL results that caught my eye was that a third of C&C shoppers bought something in-store while they were there. Although it's always dangerous to apply Christmas trading patterns to the rest of the year, it's pretty clear that retailers with the best strategies for linking "clicks and bricks" will be the ones to succeed in 2014.

over 4 years ago


Paul Nicolson

Very interesting online upward shopping trends which show no signs of abating!

Of interest to us at OutSphere is the continuing rise in the use of mobile smart phones and tablets for browsing and shopping online.

Our clients who use our interactive imaging for their products have placed stronger and stronger emphasis on the need for the images to work effectively in iPhone/iPad as well as android mobile devices. We ensure that they work across the platforms and devices so that our clients are able to take advantage of the smartphone/tablet revolution.

over 4 years ago

Pete Williams

Pete Williams, Managing Director at Gibe Digital

Our clients saw an average sales increase of 37.69% with one doing 106%!

We also saw a average order value increase of 1.33% which we think is quite impressive in itself at a time when consumers are purchasing individual items and there is some serious discounting about.

over 4 years ago

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