Online Christmas shopping: Engage or disengage


I’m no fan of high street shopping at the best of times and the thought of trying to fight my way (literally) through crowds of people during sale times is something I’m eager to avoid. You’ve probably seen the headlines about the trouble Black Friday caused in stores…. not for me thank you! I much prefer to shop online, at my own pace and without tripping over everyone.

Online growth

With the huge growth in demand for online shopping, it’s not always as plain sailing as I might hope and the big retailers seem to have struggled. On Black Friday online traffic was up in the region of 60% year-on-year, with 180m online visits to UK retail sites and an estimated spend of £810m. Sales for Cyber Monday were slightly lower at £720m but that’s still an impressive 40% rise compared to 2013.

This huge amount of traffic has caused many retail sites to slow down or in some cases fail. This is bad news for retailers as research suggests that even minor delays to website response times can have a sizeable impact on customer satisfaction and future shopping habits:

  • 38% of UK online shoppers abandon websites or apps that take more than 10 seconds to load
  • 24% of customers abandon their online carts due to a website crash
  • 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience
  • 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online

It will be interesting to see how sites perform in 2015. Assuming online demand will increase again, which retailers will react now to try and avoid these issues next year.

Mobile demand

Another reason for retailer websites struggling is the ever-increasing use of mobile devices. IBM said that mobile traffic accounted for nearly 60% of all online traffic in the UK on Friday That’s over 30% more than last year, while mobile sales accounted for 47.3% of all sales, 35.5% up on last year.

With such a rise in mobile use, it really is time for all organisations to take mobile use seriously. It’s not a fad, it’s here to stay and it’s only getting bigger!

Look out for fake websites

Any surge in online retailing is an opportunity for cybercriminals to attempt to harvest your banking details, website logins and personal information. It’s not that difficult for website scammers to put up a fully functional and convincing website. Things to watch out for:

  • Spelling and Grammar mistakes
  • How old is the site – using time filters in google
  • If an offer looks to good to be true it probably is

Customer engagement:

It’s not just retail sites that can benefit from Christmas. It’s a great opportunity to engage with your audience and customers. Some of our clients send personalised, Christmas themed and branded emails, which they then make a charitable donation for click-throughs to their websites.

Adding a Christmas theme to a site is easy to do and it doesn’t need to look tacky. Come on let’s get into the Christmas spirit… I may even venture into the High Street!


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Corey joined AB in 2002 and his attention to detail, ability to understand requirements and background in design help him manage web development projects successfully. From brochure sites to complex systems and data migration projects, his approach ensures solutions are well designed, user friendly and perform well. Outside work, Corey spends his time coaching Judo, cycling and walking on the moors with his family and Dotty their dog.


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