The Return of Mega Monday?

Monday, November 30, 2009 | 10:13 AM

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Last year “Mega” or “Cyber Monday" (December 08) gave UK online retailers a sales lift to the value of £320 million [1] despite an unforeseen shortfall in internet traffic. It is anticipated that the biggest Monday for eCommerce before Christmas this year will be today (November 30) and is forecast to deliver 1,750 online sales a minute [2].

If this year’s "Mega Monday" lives up to expectations then it gives more evidence of the re-growth of consumer confidence following the economic downturn. This comes when in the wider industry the view of Christmas retailing has been typically short on optimism with predictions of small or zero growth. In an interview with the Telegraph, Andrew Higginson Tesco’s second-in command considered that at best Christmas sales would be “flat”[3].

Previously, the dominant theme in many of the predicted best selling items for Christmas was one of affordability for consumers and lower margins for retailers. In October, the Toy Retailers Association’s annual list of the top twelve Christmas toys [4] didn’t feature any items above £50 and focused on relatively inexpensive toys such as Go Go Hamsters/ Zhu Zhu pets.

By the end of November, however, things seem slightly different. The demand and consequent price of the must have Go Go Hamsters has more than quadrupled. Meanwhile, new video game release Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 received a West End premier and smashed all previous sales records.

We have also witnessed trends in relevant search queries on that would seemingly underline a more optimistic view of Christmas 2009. Interest in Christmas gift and shopping related queries has been growing since September while terms typically associated with the slowdown have declined in popularity. For example terms like “Recession” have dropped over 20% from the same period in November 2008.

Searches for “Christmas gift ideas” have risen in popularity by some 26% this year while other generic terms like “gift ideas” have increased by 12%. Shoppers, it would seem, are as interested as ever - if not more so - in researching and finding inspiration for their Xmas purchases.

Online retailers looking to fully address the seasonal opportunity need to account for a more engaged if perhaps equally indecisive Christmas shopper. They also have to be able to differentiate in their strategy between those looking for inspiration when it comes to gift ideas for partners or family members and those who are eager to discover the availability or prices of specific items.

Tweaking ad texts to mention gifts by recipients or competitive price points are effective suggestions for advertisers. Also and as recommended by our colleagues in the US, optimising your website for indecisive shoppers so that they can easily search by recipient, price or interest are advised. Read more about their research and recommendations here.

[1] Retail Week 09 Dec 2008
[2] NMA 27 Nov 2009
[3] Telegraph 21 Sep 2009
[4] Toys Association 28 Oct 2009


Samantha Laury said...

Zhu Zhu pets really are a lot of fun; my neighbor's kids are obsessed with theirs