The sales figures from the Festive period are in and of course there are winners and losers. Since retail became a “thing”, holiday sales have been important to the annual success of any company. But in the last few years, the focus and market share based on online sales has become a key battleground for retailers. Just as there are wins in High Street sales, there are clearly companies that understand digital sales, and they are reaping the benefits.

Ecommerce growth continues to be a major part of business plans across the UK. Although still in its infancy, the financial sales deriving from online sales were clearly part of the success (and failure) of some very big names. As IMRG reported recently, ecommerce has shown a market share worth £104bn in 2014. That figure is up 14% from the previous year.

The Battle for the Big Food Shop

Financially speaking, big name British grocery stores did not have the best 2014. They are all going through the process of trying to react to a shifting economy, new emphasis placed on online capability, and dominance of value brands like Aldi and Lidl. If there is something to be learned from the recent Christmas period, it is that digital grocery shopping is an important part of the bottom line.
Here is how the grocery stores fared:

  • Grocery home shopping sales rose by 12.9% in the six weeks to January 3
  • Sales of general merchandise online were up 22.2%
  • Online clothing sales rose by 52.4%


  • Like-for-like sales fell by 1.9% in the 14 weeks to January 3
  • 110,000 orders taken in the three days up to December 23
  • Company does not separate online from in-store sales


  • Announced online contributed 1% to like-for-like sales growth
  • First year of online sales so no yearly comparisons

High Street retailers have mixed results

In a marketplace that has long been separated into online and brick-and-mortar shops, department stores and apparel retailers increased their ecommerce efforts. Marks & Spencer suffered greatly from a breakdown in the supply chain and fulfilment process during the peak sales period. Other retailers were buoyed by Black Friday sales and boosts.

  • Online sales fell by 5.9% in the 13 weeks to December 27

House of Fraser

  • Online sales rose by 31.2% over the six weeks to January 3
  • Black Friday traffic was up by 125% on 2013, while it was the busiest online trading day ever for the retailer, up 70% on the previous record


  • Next Directory sales, including their online and catalogue orders, rose by 7.9% in the 58 days up to December 24


  • Online sales rose by 28.9%
  • With a robust Black Friday, sales were up 125% from 2013
  • Demand for click & collect increased during the Christmas period and in the final days peaked at 38% of online orders

Experienced online retailers extend their advantage

Again this year, it was clear that experienced online retailers are reaping the benefits of being veterans in the sector. Coupled with the emergence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as viable economic drivers, these companies definitely saw the benefit of digital selling.
Shop Direct

  • website sales were up on Black Friday by 134% on the same day in 2013
  • Sales at were up by 23%
  • 89% of sales took place over digital with mobile sales up by 45% to represent 56% of all online sales
  • Click and collect worked for Shop Direct as use of Collect+ up by 111% on 2013


  • Sales up by 15% on 2013
  • UK sales rose by 27% and international by 5%
  • ASOS’s websites attracted 98 million visits during December 2014, compared to 87 million in December 2013


  • Sales for the online supermarket were up 14.8% year on year

Did you use ecommerce sites for your Christmas shopping this year? Share your experience with us on Twitter @growwithorganic, or join us on other social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn.