Jan 6, 2023
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After a tough year, UK online sales picked up post-Christmas

Jan 6, 2023

2022 was a difficult year for online retailers. Physical stores recovered more than expected and online shrank back post-pandemic in a way few had predicted. But there’s some good news for the sector as the last week of December saw an online leap.


Data from Wunderkind’s Marketing Pulse showed online UK retail sales in the last week of December rising 26% compared to the same week in the previous year. A Boxing Day boost was key here, which is interesting as that was a relatively slow day in physical stores.

It seems that shoppers were happier, staying at home and clicking on the products they wanted rather than buying them face-to-face.

Marketing Pulse analysed over 84,200 shopper journeys and said traffic to UK e-commerce sites on Boxing Day jumped 54.7% week-on-week and 41% compared to 2021. Even if some sales didn't happen on the day, that traffic was clearly crucial to sales for the rest of the week.

Actual sales on Boxing Day itself rose 2.27% year-on-year (+14.6% week-on-week), as “price-sensitive shoppers snapped up bargains”. Boxing Day e-sales even surpassed Super Saturday (17 December) with 19.2% more online revenue generated on 26 December vs Super Saturday.

That said, the ‘disruptor day’ that has shaken up the entire festive shopping season in the past decade still won out with black Friday’s digital sales 143.6% higher than those on Boxing Day. 

Despite the differences in this year’s December figures compared to 2021, the overall pattern was similar to last year. Marketing Pulse said “traffic patterns mirrored those of 2021, remaining steady in the run-up to Christmas Day before seeing a significant Boxing Day increase to web visitor numbers”.  

However, there was a crucial difference as 2022 saw a significantly greater volume of online shoppers browsing throughout December. Digital ‘window shopping’ in the week preceding and including Christmas Day was up 32.9% year-on-year, with web traffic in the week after Christmas rising even higher, up 44.4% compared to 2021. 

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