For the last six years, we have carried out an Online Future Shopping Index survey straight after Christmas, to determine whether people plan to spend more or less the following year.

Each year we make a prediction based on the results and I’m happy to say that once again last year’s prediction was pretty much spot on!

We predicted 12% to 17% growth in online sales during Christmas 2011; the actual figure, reported by the IMRG in January was 16.5%.

To add to this, despite record amounts being spent online over Christmas 2011, 26% of online shoppers surveyed indicated they plan to spend even more online in December 2012, (representing the highest measurement of intent to shop online since our survey was launched in 2006), with men demonstrating the highest propensity for this shift.

How much shopping do you think you will do online next Christmas?


This indicates growth of between 18% and 22% during Christmas 2012, exceeding the rate of growth in 2011.

The most significant change in online shopping behaviour, and the one I will focus on, is the device migration and proliferation with regards to consumer shopping behaviour.

While we all know that mobile shopping finally ‘came of age’ in 2011, the most noteworthy change over Christmas 2011 was the sudden and rapid acceptance of iPads and other tablets as a brilliant shopping channel. 

Explosive use of mobile phones for 2011 Christmas shopping online

48% of our survey respondents said they used a mobile phone at some point in their Christmas shopping 2011 (compared to 20% in 2010).

Our survey, in line with many others carried out over the peak trading period, highlights a huge increase in mobile phone shopping especially for those searching for products.

Did you use your mobile phone to do any of the following when Christmas shopping online?

iPad usage nearly matches mobile from a standing start… 

A staggering 14% of all respondents indicated that they used an iPad or other tablet to make a purchase over the festive season. This means that in just 18 months from the first iPad going on sale, use of tablets for shopping almost equalled that of mobile phones (15%).

And while tablets were only being used in the purchase cycle by some 30% of the audience (compared to 50% for mobile), the actual purchase volumes were very similar.

Did you use an iPad or other tablet to do any of the following when Christmas shopping online?

I think this difference in behaviour is most likely to do with the very different user experiences between mobile and tablet.

But also, it would seem that the demographics have an influence on this too. Whilst 35 to 44 years olds were the clear driver of this growth for most activities, 25 to 34 year olds were the most likely to actually purchase using an iPad/tablet device.

In fact, they showed that they are more likely to purchase on an iPad than on a mobile phone.

Tablets driving the expected overall increase in online shopping next Christmas

Tablet users are also showing a significantly higher propensity to spend much more during Christmas 2012.

26% plan to spend twice as much next year, and 22% plan to spend ‘loads’ more next year and 10% plan to spend more.

Christmas 2012 Online purchase intention by device type:

What should retailers be doing about all of this?

January saw retailers announcing tremendous growth in mobile commerce, and we saw a whole host of other surveys reinforcing our figures. 

But critically I believe tablets will be the device to watch this year. As more come to market and popularity grows, combined with their ability to combine the best bits of mobile phones with those of PC’s, for e-commerce there are very few downsides.

Therefore retailers really do need to be thinking now about how to incorporate tablets into their overall e-commerce and marketing strategies.

That means, rather than considering them the same as mobile phones, they need to be considered and treated separately. 

Having reviewed many of the leading UK retailers ourselves, we discovered that many are unprepared for the opportunities that tablets provide, especially bearing in mind the migration of the most prolific online shoppers towards them.

To download the full Logan Tod & Co Online Future Shopping Index, click here.