E-commerce surges while high street wilts this Christmas

New figures suggest that UK e-commerce has seen growth while high street shopping has fallen this Christmas. Black Friday saw a surge in e-commerce sales, while physical retailers saw a far less busy time than in years before.

Visa Europe reported that online shopping sales rose by 4.1% by comparison to the same month last year, while high street shops saw a fall of 1.5% of revenues in the same period. This points to the global trend online and away from the traditional visit to the shops for Christmas shopping.

UK & Ireland Managing Director of Visa Europe Kevin Jenkins said of the trends, “Online spending surged, driven by double digit spend increases on the big weekend amid continued appetite for mobile, laptop and tablet shopping. The high street as a whole suffered a disappointing month, though our data suggests a flat, rather than declining performance on Black Friday itself.”

The real winners it seems were the companies that integrated their online and high street presence. Jenkins said of these, “It’s already clear though that the big winners this year were retailers who got their integrated offering right.”

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned by member banks in 38 countries, and as such has a feel for trends in payments across the EU and beyond. With reports of high streets changing in the UK, from once bustling retail environments to those of other uses, the subtle change in where customers buy their goods is indicative that online is the preferred source for many shopping trips. Tablets and smart phones are increasingly becoming the method people use to buy their Christmas shopping rather than computers too, suggesting that a good mobile platform is as important as a well dressed window.