The hardest part of any year is arguably fraught with anxiety mostly at the beginning, so with some New Year’s cheer, foresight and positivity we can tackle it. With foresight in mind; E-Commerce seems to be as trendy and developmental as ever. A stunning figure of $24 trillion in Global retails sales (that’s $24 with 12 zeroes on the end for emphasis) is predicted to be hit in 2015. With last year’s prediction being $22 trillion according to our recent 2014 blog, that’s an increment of $2 trillion for the year, 10% in fact.
In Britain and the UK, E-Commerce as a trading industry creates a profit margin of £700 million every single week and although we can’t soon hope to eclipse the High Street in terms of production and product output, it seems advertising has become more ubiquitous online as the UK is forecast to become the first country to spend more on online advertising than advertising anywhere else.
In terms of growth, E-Commerce has a steady increase of 30% a year, every year, making it the largest growing part of the retail industry itself, according to a study taken by the Democratization of E-Commerce Report, which enlisted the research of over 55,000 clients. It appears the countdown to New Year, is indeed a count up to E-Commerce success.
Further to our Black Friday blog in December, which showed Black Friday breaking records year-on-year, retail giant, John Lewis, have reported record sales in the lead up to Christmas.
John Lewis has reported their Black Friday week brought the company “its biggest trading week on record, with sales up 22%” on 2013. The sales during Black Friday outpaced the week of trading in the run-up to Christmas showing the changing trend in how UK shoppers purchase their holiday gifts. The statistics show that UK shoppers are now more likely to purchase their Christmas presents during the week of Black Friday rather than the week or two before Christmas Day.
Furthermore, John Lewis’ statistics show that during the five week shopping period, “total like-for-like sales rose 4.8% to £777m, with shop sales flat, but online purchases up 19%.” which shows the growth of eCommerce sales once again for a further year. Interestingly John Lewis reported that “Click-and-collect represented 56% of online sales” overtaking home delivery, showing the increasing trend of shoppers browsing/purchasing their products online before coming into the physical store. However Andy Street, John Lewis’ managing director also stresses the importance of a physical store:
“Despite the big jump in online shopping, Mr Street said establishing a physical shop presence was key to winning internet customers, because they frequently browsed products before ordering online.”
In terms of the types of products sold this year, John Lewis reported that electrical and home technology were most popular with a 6.8% year-on-year rise for the Christmas period. Homeware rose 2.3% on 2013 and fashion and beauty were up 7.8%, which was helped by “very strong” online trading.
With the increasing trend of online sales year-on-year, it’s even more important for businesses to guarantee that their eCommerce platform is robust and secure including the use of website statistics, a well designed website and a secure payment gateway ensuring the business and customers’ transactions are safe.
2014’s been a great year for retail with sales expecting to hit $22 trillion.
Market research company, eMarketers predict that this figure will increase by 5.5 percent and ‘is projected to hit $28.3 trillion’. This figure includes a breakdown across 22 countries. Ecommerce is growing year on year in popularity,
“When it comes to retail products and services purchased on the Internet, e-commerce will account for 5.9 percent of the total retail market worldwide in 2014, or $1.316 trillion. By 2018, that share will increase significantly to 8.8 percent, yet retail e-commerce will still account for just a fraction of in-store purchases even as it nears $2.5 trillion by the end of our forecast.”
The two countries leading the way in eCommerce sales are China and the US with a combined total of 55 percent of internet retail sales. While they are currently close, China is expected to grow in the next 5 years and become the global leader in eCommerce sales.
While eCommerce is certainly growing in popularity every year, brick-and-mortar stores are still the majority choice by consumers.
“Approximately 63 percent of the U.S. population will make a digital purchase this year, yet only 6.5 percent of U.S. retail sales are expected to come from Internet transactions, increasing to 8.9 percent by 2018. In other words, a majority of U.S. consumers are making purchases online, but more than $10 out of every $11 are still spent in stores.”
Leading the way for eCommerce sales is the UK with 11.6 percent of total retail sales being eCommerce, which is 3% higher than China’s. This shows the popularity of digital and eCommerce sales in the UK compared to the rest of the world.
This year’s Black Friday is now over, but how did it do?
Amazon UK reported busiest day on record this year. The website had orders of over 5.5 million, with 64 items being sold per second. This beats last year’s record of 4 million items sold for the UK e-retailer and shows the growing popularity of Black Friday in the UK.
“Ever since we introduced Black Friday to the UK in 2010, sales have increased year-on-year but this year really has surpassed all of our expectations.
“The public’s appetite for Black Friday has been bigger than ever, kicking off the Christmas shopping period in earnest and establishing Black Friday as a fixture on the UK Christmas shopping calendar.”
John Lewis also saw an increase in website traffic this year compared to last with a 307% rise compared to 2013. They reported that the most popular items sold that day were iPad minis and food processors. Other retailers, such as PC World had website traffic ‘increasing five fold from last year’. Many retailers, such as Curry’s, had to place queues on their websites because their servers were overloaded with waits of over 30 minutes long. Other websites that struggled with server demand were TescoDirect, Argos and John Lewis.
As well as online, many physical retailers also sold a large amount of goods. Asda sold 8000 televisions in an hour and over a thousand BMXs by 9am.
Black Friday’s getting bigger every year in the UK, showing the increasing popularity of pre-Christmas sales.
Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve entered all your payment details, gone to pay and then been asked for a password you can’t remember? Well good news, Mastercard and Visa announced last week that they plan to drop the need for customers to remember passwords and make the experience more secure and less frustrating.
So how do they plan on doing this?
3D Secure 2.0, Fingerprints and One-Time Passwords
Initially, streamlining the experience involves Mastercard and Visa co-creating a new authentication standard which ‘will be the largest wholesale upgrade to online payment security’ known currently as 3D Secure 2.0. This upgrade will not only benefit consumers, but also merchants and banks by involving fewer password prompts and invisible authentication.
Analysts predict that by 2018, mobile devices will make up 30% of all online payments. With this growing trend, the companies also plan on incoporating these devices into their new standard by using cardholder data to make the process of paying more streamlined. In the event that consumers’ payment request needs authenticating, they will be able to identify themselves with one-time passwords or even their own fingerprints removing the need to remember or store a password.
“All of us want a payment experience that is safe as well as simple, not one or the other,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard. “We want to identify people for who they are, not what they remember. We have too many passwords to remember and this creates extra problems for consumers and businesses.”
These upgrades are expected to begin rolling out as soon as 2015 and will gradually replace the current 3D Secure consumers see today.
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As the Christmas season draws closer, some of the biggest shopping events of the year are coming up and continue to smash records.
Alibaba’s $7 Billion Singles’ Day Sales
China’s Singles’ Day falls on the 11th of November each year, and is celebrated as an “anti-valentine’s day” for single people to purchase gifts for themselves. It mirrors Cyber Monday as one of China’s biggest online retail sales days of the year.
One of China’s retail giants, Alibaba, far exceeded expectations this year and sold “$2bn (£1.2bn) of goods in the first hour.” It went on to sell $6.96billion (£4.4bn) worth of goods in seventeen hours with “analysts predicting that sales could surpass $8bn this year.”
Compared to 2013, Alibaba recorded sales of $5.75bn and shipped over 150 million packages. The sales for online retailers are increasing annually and show no signs of slowing down, so what can we expect for this year’s Black Friday?
Black Friday is one of America’s biggest shopping events having grown in popularity with the advent of eCommerce and boasts new records every year.
It meant little to the UK until Amazon.co.uk had a week long Black Friday sale in 2010. Last year, supermarket chain Asda boosted the popularity of the American event by running “flash promotions within stores.” cutting prices of tablets, tvs and drills. This year, analysts expect Black Friday is to “set new records for online sales”.
Not only will it break records, but it’s set to change shopping habits as well:
“Andy Street, the managing director of John Lewis, has said Black Friday will be ‘huge’ this year. Street claimed Black Friday has brought some Christmas spending forward and also highlights how many people are now using their smartphones and tablets to shop. On Black Friday last year, traffic to JohnLewis.com peaked between 7am and 8am at levels 14 times higher than anything the department store retailer had seen before.
Mark Lewis adds, “Black Friday has definitely become one of the key dates in the UK’s shopping calendar. Following steady growth over the last few years, Black Friday really emerged in the UK in 2013, when we saw the day break our previous records for a single day’s online trade. Now that customers are aware of the date and expecting it, we anticipate that this year’s Black Friday will be bigger still. Black Friday is changing the way our customers plan their Christmas shopping and we expect this year will see it come of age in the retail calendar.”
With each year breaking records and with 2014 looking no different, it’s no wonder that many retailers, both online and physical, are taking advantage of pre-Christmas sales.
Consumers will be able to use mobile phone numbers to make payments via mobile from 29 April, it has been announced.
The changes mean that account-holders will be able to pay friends, family or traders without having to ask for their bank details. Instead, they will only need to ask for their mobile number, according to the Payments Council. However both parties will have to register to use the service, known as Paym – pronounced “Pay Em”. Customers can register in advance, from Wednesday 2 April.
The Payments Council, which supervises banking transactions in the UK, has rejected fears about fraud. Neil Aitken, from the Payments Council, told BBC Radio 5 live that the system was secure.
“The only thing that people would be able to do if they got your mobile number is pay you – it will be integrated in to your existing banking app so it’s password protected,” he said.
Those wishing to make payments via mobile phone numbers will still need to use their banking apps, which require customers to log on to their accounts. Account-holders will need to visit their own bank’s website for more details.
Similar systems have already been introduced by Barclays and RBS NatWest.
How will it work?
Customers of the following banks can now register to link their mobile number with their bank account: Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Santander and TSB. Other banks – including NatWest, RBS and First Direct – will join the scheme later in the year.
People who wish just to receive money – as opposed to paying it – will still be able to use the system, even if their phone is not a smartphone, or they do not use mobile banking.
To send money, a user will have to log into their bank’s mobile banking app, using a pass code as normal.
They will then have to select the recipient of the payment, using their existing contacts or by typing in that person’s mobile phone number.
After confirming the name of the recipient, they will have to check the amount being paid, type in a reference for it (such as “dinner”), and then press send.
A confirmation message will then be sent to them.
Current levels of security will apply and payments will not be possible without an app’s pass code being entered.
Further information is available from a new website, run by the Payments Council.
New plans announced by UK retail banking institutions Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks (subsidiaries of National Australia Bank) are to see the two financial institutions close nearly 30 branches and invest £45 ($74) million in improving services in the mobile and online channels and developing six flagship branches.
The switch to a greater digital presence comes after the financial institutions reported a 30% drop in footfall at their branches over the past three years. In addition to the shift to mobile and online, Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks plan on investing in their debit and credit card portfolio, making their cards fully contactless as consumer adoption and use of contactless payments grows in the UK.
In a statement, the National Australia Bank said “These necessary changes will move Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks in line with the way customers are accessing their banking services,” citing a 40% increase in consumer mobile and online banking use in the past three years.
The reorganization of branches and the strategic shift to improving online and mobile channels is part of a wider industry trend seen in the UK as well as US. By making this change, the National Australia Bank and its subsidiaries the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks are ensuring that they are not left behind as consumers demand more innovation from their financial institutions.
The latest figures from Visa Europe show that throughout 2013 Visa cardholders used their contactless cards to make more than 94.3 million purchases in the UK, simply by tapping their cards, compared to just under 25 million contactless purchases in 2012, showing that UK consumers are embracing the ease and speed of contactless payments.
Contactless purchases were not just up in the UK but across the whole of Europe, with Visa cards used to make a staggering 340.1 million contactless purchases across Europe last year.
The top five markets to embrace Visa contactless payments in Europe in the last 12 months:
• Poland (158.7 million purchases)
• UK (94.3 million purchases)
• Czech Republic (30.6 million purchases)
• Slovakia (23.1 million purchases)
• Spain (17.5 million purchases)
The number of contactless terminals has also risen by almost 200%, with both large retailers (including M&S, Waitrose, Starbucks, Costa, Co-Op, Lidl, McDonalds and Boots) and independent retailers making contactless payments available to customers. The total number of terminals has now reached over 300k.
The stats also show a massive 125% increase on the number of Visa contactless cards in circulation compared to December 2012. There are now 32.1 million Visa contactless cards in circulation in the UK with the European total reaching 80.6 million, a 158% increase on 2012. Every issuer in the UK now offers Visa contactless cards.
The average UK purchase value in 2013 was £6.09, which is comparable to the average lunch spend or small supermarket shop, highlighting that consumers have embraced contactless to make everyday shopping convenient. The average purchase value across Europe is €9.18 showing a similar trend of contactless being used for convenience shopping.
“We’ve seen impressive growth across the board on the amount of Visa contactless cards within the UK and the overall purchases and spend,” comments Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director at Visa Europe. “Spend has risen to over £618 million in 2013, with £82 million being spent in December of last year alone.”
Londoners have also taken to contactless travel with 10 million contactless journeys being made on London buses ade on London buses using Visa contactless cards.