I’m dreaming of an ‘online’ Christmas

Online sales were already predicted to overtake store spending for the first time this Christmas – now with all parts of the UK affected by more stringent restrictions than we have seen in recent months due to the rise in Coronavirus cases, it’s becoming more apparent that we are heading for a digital Christmas.

We have already seen a huge uplift in online spending this year, particularly during the period of the first national lockdown where over 30% of all retail sales were carried out online – the highest ever, according to statistics from ONS.

And that’s without any impending festivities.

UK consumers spent over £78bn on Christmas presents and food last year; one third of that was spent online. Whether overall Christmas spend will be matched this year is yet to be seen, but it’s fair to say that online will account for a much larger proportion of the Christmas budget.

With a second national lockdown starting in England and the different arrangements in place for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, traditional Christmas shopping will be very hard this year. It’s a huge opportunity for online retailers of course, but with it comes a big challenge as couriers are already battling to fulfil growing demand for food and retail orders made online. That, coupled with Christmas shopping, will only add to the pressure pot over the coming weeks.

Research shows that only 15% of firms have created roles to cater for the increase in online sales, according to a study conducted by Barclays Corporate Banking.

With only around 50 days to go until Christmas, it’s more important than ever for operators and retailers to have plans in place – including the strategic use of high quality temporary driving and non-driving staff – to deal with the surge in demand.