For those unafraid to leave things till the very last minute, Christmas is just another day.
The online retailer Amazon reported a spike in gift card sales, peaking at 10am, as thousands of shoppers logged on for last-minute gifts – on Christmas Day.
And just after noon, with the first presents opened, shoppers headed to the website again to download books, movies, TV shows and music to their newly received digital devices. Redemption of gift cards received as presents also enjoyed a surge at this time.
Even the attraction of the Doctor Who Christmas special on TV was not enough for many Britons, some of whom were perhaps wishing they were somewhere else – preferably on a sun-kissed beach. Holiday firms Thomson and First Choice said the peak time for holiday searches on Christmas Day was at around 8.30pm, just hours after the turkey had gone cold and the last cracker was pulled. Last year a staggering 110,000 of us chose to skip charades and the endless TV repeats to search for the perfect sunshine break online.
“The trends that emerge hour by hour on 25 December give us a fascinating insight into how the UK spends Christmas Day, from saving the day with a last minute Gift Card to downloading eBook and shopping the sale,” said Amazon’s Xavier Garambois.
Notwithstanding the online delivery meltdown problems which beset online orders this year, Metapack, a British techology and logistics firm which coordinates deliveries on behalf of retailers including John Lewis and Asos, said that, typically, 3% of shoppers leave everything to the last minute, while 39% wanted later cut-offs for orders and – when cutting it really fine – 14% demanded same day delivery.
Nancy Puccinelli, a retail marketing expert at Oxford University’s Said Business School, said: “It is not surprising that so many people leave Christmas shopping to the last minute – because they can. For many, the whole festive retail offer has become unbearable and the forced ‘tis the season to be jolly’ in shops with irritating shop assistants actually puts more stress on shoppers, who find it off-putting.”
Property website Rightmove reported busy traffic on Christmas Day, after advising prospective New Year sellers to act early to beat the competition and take advantage of the expected Christmas browsing. The company forecast the 500,000 plus visits to its website on Christmas Day last year – more than doubling to over 1.3 million on Boxing Day – to be exceeded. Similarly, there were 1.4 million plus visits on New Year’s Day, rising to over 2.2 million by the mass return to work, on Monday 5 January.
This article was written by Rebecca Smithers, for theguardian.com on Thursday 25th December 2014 06.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010