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75pc of John Lewis’ Christmas traffic stems from mobileBy Rebecca Borison
Over its Christmas sale, John Lewis attracted a large number of consumers, with a significant majority of those coming from mobile. Seventy-six percent of users accessed the department store’s Web site via mobile.
“Consumers are increasingly comfortable with converting sales via mobile devices,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.
“If you merge smart phone and tablet traffic together as a single stat and then toss in the pushing of specific clearance related bargains to a loyal audience, it is not hard to imagine a scenario where mobile makes up a majority of sales,” he said.
Mr. Kerr is not affiliated with John Lewis. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.
John Lewis did not respond to press inquiries.
The London-based department store chain has 43 stores throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
John Lewis began its Christmas sale at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and within an hour sales were up 13 percent year-over-year. Fifty-six percent of Christmas Eve traffic came from mobile.
On Christmas Day itself, sales were up 19 percent on 2012, and 76 percent of users accessed the site from smartphones or tablets.
Some of the best-selling products over Christmas included washing machines, Egyptian cotton bed linen and towels as well as Mulberry handbags and luxury beauty sets.
John Lewis also encountered record-breaking sales leading up to Christmas, with sales of £164.4m for the week ending Saturday, December 21. This represents an increase of 4.2 percent on the same week last year and an all-time record for the retailer.
Additionally, an iPad was sold every ten seconds in the run-up to Christmas.
Not surprisingly, John Lewis is not the only retailer that is noticing mobile’s impact on Christmas-time sales.
Last year, online retailer Fab.com broke a company record on Christmas Day with more than half of its revenue in the United States coming from mobile (see story).
According to a report from xAd, retail-related search activity on mobile devices was 24 percent greater on Christmas Eve than on Black Friday last year. Last year, last-minute mobile shopping activity started to ramp up three days before Christmas, spiking on par with Black Friday (see story).
A recent report from IBM shows that this year’s Christmas mobile sales topped last year’s, with mobile accounting for 48 percent of all online traffic, up 28.3 percent from 2012 (see story).
“Mobile should be viewed as extremely important to any retailer with an online presence,” Mr. Kerr said. “Smart retailers are actively dismantling the silos between in-store retail sales, traditional online sales and mobile commerce.
“It sounds like John Lewis leveraged a loyal base of customers acquired via apps and a basis for delivering highly discounted products for a specific period of time,” he said. “Impulse flash sales like this with margin busting prices on specific items are an easy way to convert an extremely large volume of sales via smart phone and tablet in a short amount of time.
“John Lewis might well have partnered with specific wholesale brands to achieve this large surge in volume, based on preassigned discounted pricing. Even if the margins were lower, the volume makes up the difference.”
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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