Social media to help Cyber Monday grow

TODAY’S Cyber Monday is set to be the year’s busiest online Christmas shopping day, beating last year by 15 per cent, with retail websites expected to receive 85m hits as the festive frenzy picks up pace.

Encouraged by the nearing big day and last week’s November pay packet, while leaving enough time for parcel deliveries, Brits will today tot up a hefty portion of the 350m hours they are expected to clock up shopping online this month.

A Deloitte report estimates that £9bn will be spent online this holiday season, accounting for half of all non-food related merchandise retail sales.

Of this, 20 per cent will be multichannel, where consumers use more than one channel in making their purchase, including smartphone apps, price comparison websites, review forums and social media.

Colin Jeffrey, head of multichannel retail at Deloitte, said, “With trust in traditional sources of influence decreasing, consumers are turning to their peers or communities online for advice and to share information and opinions.

“The current economic climate is accelerating the rate at which consumers are adopting digital behaviours as they rebalance their spending and turn to digital solutions to seek out savings and value.”

While the ever-increasing dominance of social media is expected to cost the consumer more, with multichannel consumers spending £143 per transaction compared with £102 for direct shoppers and £57 for in-store customers, it could also lead to a higher gift success rate.

Last year an estimated £650m worth of unwanted Christmas presents were listed on eBay by 500,000 unhappy recipients within days of being exchanged. However, Anton Gething, co-founder of social commerce expert nToklo, believes social media “could make for higher customer approval and retention rates, while also making the consumer experience more fun and a little less stressful”.

“This could be a Christmas win for the often maligned retail industry, as well as gift givers and receivers across the UK.”