Online sales are set to rise 19 per cent and hit £5bn this Christmas, according to Deloitte, the consultancy firm.
It also forecasts a 3.5 per cent increase in the value of total Christmas retail sales, taking the sum consumers plan to spend this Christmas to £40.3bn.
It expects homeware and department stores to do well, and if the cold snap continues, clothing stores will also receive a boost. “Food is likely to remain competitive, while electrical retailers will be hoping new tablets and games consoles will lift sales.”
“The forecast will provide some Christmas cheer for retailers. Shoppers are expected to loosen purse strings off the back of rising consumer confidence and improving economic conditions. Flexible delivery could be this year’s battlefield,” said Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte.
“After last year’s click-and-collect Christmas, consumers’ expectations around flexible delivery over the coming festive period are higher than ever before. Store collection is now seen as a basic offering and those retailers without this capability will struggle to convert online sales and lose resulting footfall in-store.
There are now an estimated 20,000 click-and-collect points across the UK. But recent Deloitte research found that 47 per cent of UK consumers also think empty high street stores would make convenient collection points to pick up goods ordered on the internet. And 36 per cent would like to pick up small goods from a dedicated collection point facility such as a locker or independent store near to home or work.