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Ross O'Connor Head of Sales- Agency and Mid Market Teams AdRoll

Why should retailers be getting ready for Christmas early?

Retailers depend on strong Christmas sales.

Nearly 74% of surveyed UK and US retailers said it’s where they get 20% or more of their annual sales.  

Why is Christmas so important to UK marketers? We analysed retail sales data, consumer surveys and the advertising performance of AdRoll’s 25,000 customers to find out.

Retail sales increase 30.7% during Christmas

News coverage of key shopping dates in Christmas focus on long lines and packed department stores, but what impact do Christmas sales actually have on the retail industry?

December in the UK showed a 30.7% boost in retail sales—£44.8 billion—compared to the 2015 monthly average of £32.2 billion.

Ads get more clicks and conversions during Christmas

As more consumers spend a greater amount on retail purchases during the Christmas season, traffic rises on ecommerce storefronts, and consumers are also more likely to click on ads.

We looked at the performance of advertising between November 26, 2015 and December 31, 2015, to learn how much more likely EMEA ad viewers are to interact with advertising.

The click-through rate of ads rose 23.53% on average during the Christmas shopping season.

This means there’s not only a larger audience for marketing messages during Christmas, but also that audiences are more likely to be swayed by advertising as well.

Christmas sales grow more important every year

Christmas sales aren’t valuable for their raw sales alone; Christmas spending in itself is an economic trend that retailers are finding increasingly costly to ignore—steadily rising year-over-year.

Vast majority of Christmas spending is still in-store, but online spending is growing fast

The majority of Christmas spending in the UK —85.9%—still takes place in brick-and-mortar retail stores. However, online sales have grown from 9.4% of all retail sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 14.1% in the fourth quarter of 2015.

What Christmas sales mean for the future of online retailers

Online storefronts will face two tectonic shifts over the next several years: a rapid growth in market volume and an equally fast shift from desktop to mobile purchasing.

Online retail sales are projected to reach £86.96 billion by 2019. Mobile, meanwhile, is growing quickly as well, in Q4 2015, 51% of online sales in the UK were completed on mobile devices.

Marketers wishing to take advantage of the Christmas season should begin planning in the early summer. Digital marketing offers online retailers a wide range of tactics, like highly segmented display, email, and search campaigns, to more efficiently convert increased Christmas traffic. But it’s only through careful advance planning that marketers can make the most of the Christmas season.

To learn best practices for Christmas, try a few of these online resources: MailChimp’s has a comprehensive set of 100 creative and practical tips for Christmas offers and marketingOptimizely has created a guide to retail personalisation, and HubSpot offers a great step-by-step walkthrough that well explains the role email, blogging, and social media play in Christmas marketing.