Shopping in a winter wonderland

Asos.com revealed yet another set of spectacular figures this week.

With revenue up 47% to £96.5m and pre-tax profit up 9% to £4.4m in the six months to 30 September, there is no high-street retailer that can compete with figures like that. Asos is going to clean up this Christmas, and that’s indisputable.

A report from online comparison site Kelkoo last week predicted that online retail will represent 20% of all UK sales during the Christmas period and grow 24% from last year to reach £8.9bn.

Now that the postal strike no longer threatens buying online, Asos and its online retail counterparts look set to record a bumper Christmas.

In the true British Christmas tradition, Christmas shoppers will battle with each other fighting their way down the high street as the rain pours, and get frustrated as they spend their precious time standing in queues and listening to the same Christmas songs on repeat in every store.

Meanwhile, fashion savvy online shoppers will flock to the easy to navigate pages of Asos.com while listening to their own crafted playlists on Spotify.

They will click and buy clothing, accessories and gifts for friends and family as well as sneaky treats and Christmas party outfits for themselves safe in the knowledge that if it’s not right they can send it back free of charge without having to face the returns queue.

But I was interested to see some research by Retail Eyes, a company that specialises in improving customer experience that says the number of people doing the majority of their Christmas shopping online would only increase by 2.3% this year.

It also claimed that almost three-quarters of British shoppers say that the festive spirit and atmosphere on the high street are the most enjoyable aspects of Christmas shopping.

I’m no scrooge and get very wound up in the excitement and buzz of Christmas lights and seasonal goodwill but I’m not alone in feeling that the reality of Christmas shopping on the high street is very often not the idyllic festive scene it ought to be.

While high street retailers are doing some fantastic things in terms of Christmas advertising, seasonal visual merchandising and store dressing and it can be a delight to wander around the stores at this time of year; where possible, if I can buy what I want online and have it delivered to me on time, I’ll be doing my best to avoid the crowds on the high street this Christmas.

In an aside, the Marketing Week editorial team is investigating retail marketing and in particular, point-of purchase, and how these disciplines evolved in 2009.

Marketers and agencies responsible for managing and supplying POP can access the P-O-P survey, sponsored by Momentum here and the insight gathered will form a feature to be published in Marketing Week in January 2010.

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here Tom Fishburne will be speaking at the Festival of Marketing, which is taking place on 4 and 5 October at Tobacco Dock. To find out more information, including how to book tickets, visit […]

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