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A Happy Holiday Season for E and M-Commerce

24 February 2016
It’s no secret that the Christmas season can be make-or-break for retailers, with November and December sales accounting for a growing chunk of their yearly sales.
In the Western Hemisphere, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday did not disappoint. What certainly started off as US phenomena has now spread far across the globe and argubaly become two of the most important shopping days for European retailers as well.
 
Part of the reason behind the growth of Black Friday and Cyber Monday has been the growing popularity of eCommerce and mCommerce. Today, people no longer have to brave the manic queues outside their favourite shops to get a Black Friday deal – they can simply buy what they want online or using their smartphone. 
 
According to the Financial Times, Black Friday online sales jumped 14% this year, with one third coming from mobiles. This trend carried through to Christmas too. While warm weather saw many major retailers struggle to sell their winter wares in-store, ecommerce figures were strong virtually across the board. UK department store John Lewis Christmas sales rise more than 5% fuelled by strong online and mobile commerce sales.
 
At Worldpay we’re privy to live sales figures, which allowed us to pull out some notable trends from this year’s holiday sales rush. 
 
The good news for non-retail businesses was that many consumers do their Christmas shopping outside of working hours, with the biggest jump in sales occurring between 8.15 – 9.15am over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. As an indication of just how frenzied the shopping rush was on Black Friday, Worldpay was processing a record 320 transactions per second during the morning peak. 
 
But Black Friday is only the first in a series of peaks throughout the holiday season. “Cyber” Monday also saw record eCommerce sales worldwide. We processed 21 per cent more transactions on Cyber Monday 2015 than we did in 2014, with online sales peaking at 1pm GMT once North America started to wake up and Europeans used their lunch breaks to get some shopping in. At this peak, Worldpay was processing an astonishing 408 transactions per second. The biggest story in holiday sales last year was China Singles’ Day, which takes places annually on November 11th. Our data found China Singles’ Day was the premiere global event for online shopping in 2015. In fact, we processed three times more online retail transactions on the 11th of November than on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
 
China’s economy might have stuttered recently, but these figures show that consumer confidence and spending power remains sky-high. As major Asian firms like Alibaba continue to push into Western markets, it will be interesting to see whether they can export their own retail traditions to Europe, the Americas and elsewhere.
 
All this point to a fascinating 2016, where we can expect yet more retail records to tumble and mCommerce to continue reshaping the way people shop – but perhaps the bigger story will be the worldwide success of Asian retailers.