Survey finds 89.68% of shoppers will shop online for Christmas gifts this year – SMEs urged to get ready

SantaA new survey has revealed that a massive 89.68% of shoppers say they will do their Christmas shopping online this year, with 73.04% preferring Internet ordering to battling the high street queues.

Almost seven in ten shoppers also said they’d turn to search engines like Google ahead of review sites and recommendations from friends on social media when it came to deciding what to leave under the tree for friends and family this year.

More than 1000 shoppers the length and breadth of the British Isles were polled in research conducted by web design agency, Bristow Digital. Most (39.27%) said online businesses could entice them with special offers, while just 29.18% would be tempted to place an order by free postage and packaging deals.

The news sheds timely insight into online shopping habits and preferences in the run-up to Christmas and emphasises the importance of selling online for Britain’s millions of SMEs.

Joe Bristow, Director said: “Online looks set to overtake the high street this Christmas with many shoppers overwhelmingly in favour of shopping online. Events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have helped to fuel this trend of course but, the feedback from shoppers is that there’s also a sense of being able to access better deals online. Interestingly, almost 66% of those we spoke to said they often researched companies online before buying – which shows just how important a strong, professional online presence is.

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“With the holiday shopping season now gearing up, this survey really highlights the importance of a functional ecommerce site for any business looking for a strong end to the year. It’s not enough just to have a website, with digitally savvy shoppers also researching the brands they’re dealing with online and looking out for deals, SMEs need to have easily updated websites, plenty of reviews, lots of positive feedback and a strong set of seasonal incentives.

“Many shoppers said they were not swayed by a social media presence alone or a simple offer such as free postage and packaging so much more creativity is needed when it comes to using online sales channels to the best effect for Christmas sales.”

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Around seven out of ten shoppers will use a search engine such as Google to find out more about brands they’re dealing with this Christmas – meaning a well optimised website is crucial. For SMEs, a pro-active approach to greater Google visibility could well lead to more sales.

Bristow adds: “A lot of small businesses are put off SEO or struggle to know what to do with their website to make themselves more visible. The message from shoppers is clear though – this is where they turn when they’re thinking about gift giving and dipping into their wallets. Even something as simple as adding new content to a website, adding some topical blog content or updating product pages can make a difference. With 30% of shoppers saying they’ll also be ordering Christmas presents from their mobile device, having a mobile website can also be worth considering. For SMEs this can seem like a luxury but, there is an opportunity to make this investment back simply by being found when shoppers are looking to buy.”

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