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Six ways we shopped differently online this Christmas

The Very Group highlights the top six ways consumers’ online shopping habits changed over the festive period.

Local COVID-19 restrictions and the closure of non-essential retail in November certainly meant that Christmas 2020 was like no other.

The way consumers shopped online changed, with digital retailer growing sales by 25% year on year and attracting 500,000 new customers during the seven weeks up to December 25, 2020.

Now Very – which sells a healthy number of licensed products – has compiled its top six ways our online shopping habits changed over the festive period.

We made an earlier start to Christmas shopping

October and November 2020, when Very saw some of its strongest year on year growth, were huge for online shopping – more so than in 2019. The closure of some stores, competitive deals online and nervousness around delivery and product availability, all led us to start planning for Christmas that little bit earlier.

We browsed more during work hours

Very found that we were more comfortable spending time browsing online in regular working hours this Christmas, with more of us working from home. We browsed more between 9am and 5pm, and shopped less after 5pm compared with last Christmas.

We had a Very ‘appy Christmas

More so than ever, we wanted the speed, convenience and personalised experience of shopping via mobile apps. Sales through Very’s mobile app grew by 33% year on year during the festive period, while orders via mobile web, and desktop and tablet devices saw only modest growth, despite us being at home more.

Families made their house a home and entertained the kids

Home improvement was high on our agenda this Christmas. Very saw its home category grow by 46% compared to last year, including a 48% increase in furniture sales. The retailer also saw over 200% growth in home improvement, comprising flooring and paint, as more of us started DIY projects. We prioritised entertaining our children this Christmas too, with gaming up 106.4%. The Black Friday sales was particularly popular for entertainment, with Very selling a TV every 30 seconds across the period and a pair of Airpods every ten seconds on the day itself.

We treated ourselves to designer clothes

Consumers have certainly bought less formal and casual fashion during the pandemic, with fewer social occasions on the horizon. While this trend largely continued over Christmas, premium fashion and footwear grew by 28% year on year at Very. The results suggest that we wanted to treat ourselves and our families to the very best designer brands this festive period, having saved on fashion throughout the pandemic. Sportswear and loungewear also continued to be popular.

We wanted parcels delivered to our door step

With more and more of us staying at home this Christmas, click and collect became less popular. 18% of parcels were delivered to click and collect locations, down 7%pts compared with the previous Christmas, as more of us opted for door step delivery.

“This year was like no other Christmas we’ve seen before,” commented Sam Perkins, retail managing director at The Very Group. “We shopped online at different times, in different ways and for different items, all dictated by the impacts of the pandemic.

“While many of the trends we saw over Christmas have endured into January, we slowly expect normal service to resume as the vaccine rollout begins to take effect and COVID-19 measures start to lift. We believe there will be pent-up demand among customers, who will be keen to resume normal life, go out and go on holiday, which in turn will see a gradual return to more normal online buying patterns. This will benefit non-food retailers and we think fashion, in particular, will be resurgent.”

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