One-Fifth of UK Christmas Season Retail Sales Will Be Digital in 2016.

One-Fifth of UK Christmas Season Retail Sales Will Be Digital in 2016.

During the core holiday shopping period of November and December, UK retail ecommerce sales will reach an estimated £16.90 billion and 20.3% of all holiday season retail sales, up from £14.65 billion and 17.8% last year, according to eMarketer.

The increasing shift to smartphone buying in the UK will contribute to the ecommerce uptick during the Christmas period. eMarketer predicts that smartphones will account for 36.4% of total retail mcommerce sales in the UK in 2016, still trailing tablet commerce. However, by 2020 the balance is expected to have shifted, at which point smartphones will account for 52.0% of the mcommerce total.

“Retail ecommerce sales during the festive season look set to shine this year, despite the wider economic conditions in the UK,“ said eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher.

“This is in no small part due to a digitally advanced consumer, who has been quick to embrace digital buying and particularly smartphone buying. And during the Christmas shopping period, these digital habits become even more accentuated.“

Overall UK retail sales are expected to reach £83.22 billion during the holiday shopping season in 2016, representing annual growth of 1.3%. This marginal rise is an improvement over 2015, when retail sales during the festive period actually declined by 0.3%. eMarketer had originally forecast growth in retail sales for this period in 2015, but an unseasonably warm winter meant that the apparel sector posted sluggish sales results, dragging down the total.