Business development · 22 December 2015

Small online retailers ready for last-minute sales surge

last-minute sales
Online Christmas shopping will continue until 24 December

Almost a third of digital small businesses are expecting strong demand over the last three trading days before Christmas, according to new research by eBay.

Some 200,000 small companies sell through eBay UK – and over half of owners are confident that their delivery networks will be able to effectively ship last-minute purchases.

Other ecommerce platforms will be taking orders for Christmas later than ever before for Christmas 2015. – a curated online marketplace for creative small businesses – is accepting orders until midday on 23 December, while Amazon will allow customers to place orders Christmas Eve, for delivery by 10pm that night.

November’s Visa UK Consumer Spending Index revealed that Brits were increasingly flocking online to make purchases last month.

“All eyes were on Black Friday but spending for November as a whole confirms the trends we saw at the tail end of the month. Online spending surged, driven by double digit spend increases on the big weekend amid continued appetite for mobile, laptop and tablet shopping,” said Visa Europe’s managing director Kevin Jenkins.

“How long it takes for a Christmas stampede and how much appetite consumers have left following days of discounting should emerge in the next few days,” he added.

The increased popularity of click-and-collect – which is growing at 20 per cent a year – means that picking up online purchases is also likely to drive consumers out onto the high street.

“Retailers may also see a surge in footfall on 23 December, with the opportunity for further shopping in-store when consumers arrive. With shoppers having more choice about where and how to buy than ever before, it’s an opportunity for retailers to get the multi-channel offering right,” Jenkins added.

Many of those surveyed by eBay believed that the last two weeks of the year would be “vital” for their small firms.

James Dowsing-Reynolds, the founder of Dowsing & Reynolds – a home décor business that started on eBay in 2014 – said: “The Christmas trading period is hugely busy and absolutely crucial to the business – it’s all hands on deck now more than ever.”

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Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.