December is almost here and many of us have already made a start on our Christmas shopping.

One of the most useful things about our Internet Statistics Compendium (ISC) is that it is a really quick way to browse festive trends from the last few years to get a good idea of how important digital channels will be to shoppers in the lead up to the 25th.

This month I thought I’d use this blog post to pick out some key stats – incorporated into the Ecommerce and Customer Experience documents of our ISC – to look at how Christmas 2015 might play out among online and multichannel retailers in the UK.

Online purchases likely to exceed forecasts

The latest data from IMRG saw UK ecommerce grow 12% year-over-year during September – a far better performance than the 5% growth in August.

Judging from trends last year, it is quite typical for ecommerce to dip slightly in August and then pick up again in autumn and winter.

Indeed, a release from IMRG looking at online delivery volumes saw them grow 18.9% year-over-year in September – already better than predicted.

It is also worth noting the increasing acceptability of key dates like Black Friday (this year falling on November 27) in the UK. 30% of shoppers say they are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to shop on that day according to IMRG.

Average order values likely to be even bigger

Recently published data by Monetate gives a great insight into the value of typical online orders among shoppers in Great Britain.

Orders which come via PCs and laptops remain the biggest on average – hitting $98.55 (£64.80) during Q2 2015. 

Looking at these trends, order values on traditional devices might actually be falling slightly.

While being at their lowest in Q2 2015 compared to any point over the last five quarters – it is worth noting just how much AOVs have jumped on mobile devices since the same time last year – AOVs are now not too dissimilar to the peak of $95.66 (£62.91) which happened during 2014’s festive season.

Digital having even more influence on the habits of shoppers, on and offline

With Monetate’s average order value data fresh in our minds, recent multichannel data from Savvy makes particularly interesting reading too.

According to the recent report The Evolution of the Path to Purchase, it found that even if conversions often occur offline rather than online, a massive 69% of all purchases over £20 are influenced in some way by digital retailing.

Additionally, most shoppers aren’t simply doing a Google search for such items or going straight to Amazon for pre-purchase research, but they will on average look at more than two sources of information before clicking the buy button.

Further growth in click & collect and more diverse fulfilment options

One of the key talking points of the festive season last year was the rise of click & collect purchases – with 39% of British online shoppers choosing to place orders online and then going to pick them up in-store, according to JDA.

It’s likely such services will play an even bigger role in Christmas shopping in 2015.

JDA also found that of those who used click & collect in 2014, 34% said they would intend to use it more this year.

Zebra’s 2015 Global Shopping Study (which includes UK respondents) released in September also found that 22% of those they asked prefer to buy online and then collect their orders in person from the store.

Takeaways

Christmas is always an interesting time for ecommerce and multichannel trends.

Looking at recent data and comparing predictions with what we have seen happen in recent years, online retailers and marketers are in an ever-improving position to ensure they are reaching potential customers at the right times and across the best channels.

With greater choice and more online and mobile accessibility to a wider range of products, the sector is increasingly consumer-led.

Those hoping to engage with more customers over the next month or so need to be sure they are offering convenience and user-specific functionality, so shoppers can find and receive the items they want when they want them.