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Sunday is apparently the most popular day for shopping online via a mobile device, according to new research from Opera, which sourced its data from its 270 million users.

Whereas desktop traffic to e-commerce sites still tends to peak on Mondays and remains stronger during weekdays than on weekends, the new research has revealed that mobile shopping traffic is highly concentrated on Sundays, and is at its lowest on Fridays.

One possible explanation Opera suggests is that consumers use their mobile devices to browse products over the weekend, then revisit and purchase when they return to they go into work on Monday.

While Sunday may be the most popular mobile shopping day, June sees the highest global volume of traffic to mobile shopping sites. However, the Christmas season is the most active time for shopping in the United States, Europe and Latin America, between November and February, the US sees an increase of over 15 percent higher than annual averages in shopping volume.

In Asia, however, March is the peak month for volume, followed closely by July, which is largely due to Ramadan starting in late June and ending in late July this year.

Globally, Amazon was found to command the greatest share of mobile shopping traffic and holds on to this dominance in the US market with a 36.3 percent share, closely followed by eBay with 16 percent and Craigslist with 11.5 percent.

Around 23.6 million people have left some of their festive shopping until the last minute and will be hitting the shops today, Christmas Eve, according to new research from Sainsbury's Bank Credit Cards.

Based on interviews with people regarding their Christmas week spending habits, the bank estimates that as much as 832 million pounds could be spent on Christmas Eve, and the number of people expected to shop is significantly higher than in 2013 when the research estimated that 17.5 million people still needed to finish their festive shopping the day before Christmas.

However, the research did note that Christmas Eve shopping this year is more likely to be a case of picking up the last few presents, rather than a frantic dash to do everything in a day. In 2013, Sainsbury’s Bank estimated 22 percent of all of the shopping in the Christmas week would take place on Christmas Eve, while in 2014 this has fallen to 11 percent.

The research also revealed that consumers have taken “careful consideration” about how they will fund this year’s Christmas presents, with 45 percent saying they planned to use money they have saved over the course of the year, while 22 percent said they planned to use a credit card that they would either pay off in full, or switch to a 0 percent balance transfer card. A further 4 percent said they will buy gifts using a 0 percent purchase credit card.

Simon Ranson, head of Banking at Sainsbury's Bank, said: “It appears that fewer people are leaving all of their shopping to the last minute however our research shows there could be a rising number who are hitting the shops for one or two further gifts or last minute items.”

More than half of consumers are likely to give a gift card or voucher this Christmas in an industry worth more than 5 million pounds.

According to new figures released by The UK Gift Card & Voucher Association, some 57 percent of consumers are likely to gift a voucher, up from 49 percent last year, showing that gift cards at Christmas are increasing in popularity.

The survey of 2,000 consumers, carried out by YouGov Plc, found that it was in line with recent industry data from BDO that showed consumer sales of gift cards and vouchers grew 9.71 percent in the third quarter of 2014.

Andrew Johnson, director-general of the UKGCVA, said: “This data reflects a very exciting time for the industry. With a clear increase on last year’s results, we can see the growth that the gift card and voucher market is currently experiencing. We have witnessed a solid increase in popularity of gift cards and vouchers over recent years and are now anticipating that the run up to Christmas 2014 will be the most promising period to date.”

With regards to what kind of gift vouchers are being bought this Christmas, a quarter of consumers said they would be gifting a retail or fashion voucher, while 23 percent were opting for multi-choice vouchers that can be redeemed at multiple retailers.

In addition, the survey also found that consumers overwhelmingly prefer physical gift cards or voucher over digital ones, with only 18 percent citing that they would prefer to be given an online voucher that can be received and redeemed online.

Shoppers looking for an online bargain are expected to spend more than 1.3 billion pounds across Christmas and Boxing Day this year, according to a forecast from Experian-IMRG, however neither is expected to eclipse the unprecedented level of sales on Black Friday.

The forecast predicts that shoppers will spend a frenetic 441,000 pounds a minute online on Christmas Day, upping the pace to 519,000 pounds a minute on Boxing Day. Totalling an estimated 636 million pounds over 142 million retail site visits on Christmas Day, up 25 percent compared to last year. While on Boxing Day shoppers will spend 748 million pounds during 167 million site visits, an increase of 29 percent year-on-year.

Chief information officer at IMRG Tina Spooner said: “Over recent years Boxing Day has typically been the busiest online shopping day of the year as consumers log on in search of a bargain from the comfort of their sofas.

“However, the festive sales started early this year with Black Friday discounts and promotions attracting a record number of online shoppers in the UK. Although we expect Boxing Day to be even bigger than last year, with online spend up around 40 percent year-on-year, it is unlikely to eclipse the unprecedented level of sales on Black Friday when e-retail sales reached a staggering 810 million pounds.”

Spooner added: “A recent survey of IMRG’s members found that 70 percent of e-retailers offered discounts and promotions over Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend and we are likely to see a higher number launching sales over Christmas and Boxing Day, with some going into sale as soon as their high street shops close their doors on Christmas Eve.”

Giles Longhurst, general manager consumer insight at Experian Marketing Services, commented: “Traditionally, the Boxing Day sales have been the busiest day for retailers in the UK, but this year we expect them to come second to Black Friday. The ease of shopping online via connected devices also raises the prospect of a very large amount of shopping activity on Christmas Day itself.”

This Christmas period is expected to reveal a record high in shoplifting that could end up costing the UK economy more than 1 billion pounds, with department and larger stores set to be the hardest hit.

Independent security business The Shield Group has warned retailers that with the increased footfall during the festive period it will provide the perfect cover for shoplifters, adding that thieves will steal an average of 37.04 pounds per family. Large department stores will be targeted the most, due to products such as women’s clothing and jewellery, tablets, perfume and games consoles being stocked there.

The group also warn that threats to retailers are not just external, as this time of year figures consistently show an increase in employee theft stemming from temporary workers, in 2013 internal thefts accounted for more than 300 million pounds.

Chief executive of The Shield Group John Roddy said: “Dramatic increases in shoppers creates the potential for serious problems. There are also some consumers who get a thrill out of stealing; they typically pocket a ‘free’ gift during an otherwise legitimate shopping trip. However, traditional criminals also get in on the act as shops become so packed that it becomes much harder for security to be aware of issues. Add into this mix a thriving black market, the lure of financial gain is potentially all it takes to motivate the criminally inclined.

“Security should be every shop owner’s number one priority, not only to ensure that nothing is stolen, but also to guarantee the safety of the customers and staff. By implementing the appropriate security measures and reviewing the temporary staff that are being employed there should be no reason that crime should ruin the Christmas holidays.”

The European Union has agreed to cap the cost of processing debit and credit card payment fees, following campaigns from the British Retail Consortium and UK retailers.

Retailers have welcomed the news, as the high card fees currently cost UK businesses more than 1 billion pounds a year, according to the BRC. Under the new rules, fees will be capped at 0.2 percent for debit cards and 0.3 percent for credit card transactions.

The price cap will not initially apply to the so-called three-party card schemes, such as American Express and Diners, which involve only one bank.

"This legislation is good for consumers, good for business, and good for Europe. It will lead to lower prices and visibility of costs for consumers," said Margrethe Vestager, commissioner in charge of competition policy.

However, the cap still has to be endorsed by EU governments and approved by the full European Parliament before it can come into effect.

The BRC has welcomed the ruling, Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, commented: "We are delighted with this historic and landmark agreement. We have long campaigned for a cap on excessive and anti-competitive card payment fees. Once implemented in the UK during the course of 2015 this will enable the retail industry to invest an extra 500 million pounds a year in innovation and value for consumers."

Calvin Klein to expand online presence

Luxury apparel and denim brand Calvin Klein has announced that it is set to expand its online presence to more than 20 countries by the end of 2016, with six new websites launching across Asia.

The brand currently has introduced 14 new websites across the US, Brazil and Europe, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands and Spain. The expansion of this new site will continue globally, Calvin Klein announced, with the implementation of direct e-commerce sites across its Asian markets starting in 2015 and rolling out over the next two years.

Steve Shiffman, chief executive of Calvin Klein, said: “This launch is impactful in both its geographic scale and level of customisation. It reflects our commitment to reinforce the Calvin Klein brand identity across the globe, while also creating a personalised shopping experience within each individual market.

“Through meticulous consideration of consumer behaviour, user experience and regional merchandising, we have positioned our e-commerce sites to serve as the focal point of the consumer’s interaction with the brand – all while maintaining the integrity of a universal message and aesthetic.”

Calvin Klein announces global e-commerce expansion plans

All e-commerce sites globally will feature its whole host of products, including licensed categories, across men’s and women’s Calvin Klein Jeans and Calvin Klein Underwear, with regional offerings of Calvin Klein fragrances, Calvin Klein apparel and accessories, Calvin Klein Performance, Calvin Klein Home, and children’s products in available markets.

The sites will also building on the company’s integration of content and commerce, with its “show yours. #mycalvins” global social media campaign, which will be visible across the newly launched e-commerce sites via user-generated photo galleries featuring fans of the brand showcasing the iconic waistband of their Calvin Klein Underwear.

Marks & Spencer has signed up to be the anchor tenant at Oldham’s 60 million pound development Prince’s Gate at Oldham Mumps.

The development to the east of Oldham town centre is being hailed as a “gamechanger” for the town by Oldham Council and will feature more than 150,000 square foot of retail space, up to 800 new homes, as well as around 700 car parking spaces.

The retail park, part of the town’s wide-ranging regeneration scheme, is set to be open in 2017 with Marks & Spencer’s opening a 51,000 square foot clothing, home and food store.

Jim McMahon, Oldham Council leader, said: “Prince’s Gate at Oldham Mumps is a vital part of our wider regeneration plans that are set to give the town centre a huge stimulus.

“M&S is a fantastic authentic brand and it is obvious why we’ve worked so hard to get them here. Our market research overwhelmingly told us they are the favourite missing high street store people wanted to see here and we’ve now delivered that.”

An M&S Spokesperson added: “We can confirm that we have now exchanged contracts for a full line store in the Prince’s Gate development and look forward to progressing plans in the near future.”

UK retailers should avoid 'blanket promotions' this Christmas

After the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzies swept across the nation, discounts and promotional offers have continued to hit UK retailers.

The ongoing sales competition is dragging pre-Boxing sales forward and could start as early as Sunday, 21 December, according to the latest data compiled by online aggregated fashion and beauty service SalesGossip, but there are a number of retailers who are actively working to protect profits.

UK retailers who offer flash sales are "competing without killing their profits"

“Following Black Friday, we've seen a lot of retailers running pre-Christmas promotions. Understandably, many of them are doing so to respond to promotions from their direct competitors,” commented Elizabetta Camilleri, CEO and co-founder of SalesGossip.

UK retailers, such as John Lewis, Debenhams and Shop Direct, all tapped into Black Friday to create momentum in the run up to Christmas and win over early holiday shoppers. During this time SalesGossip noted a 137 percent increase in the number of retailers featuring Black Friday offers compared to the same period last year.

Following Black Friday, SalesGossip reported a 48 percent in the subsequent pre-Christmas promotions, which highlights the competitiveness in the retail market.

However, SalesGossip has witnessed a small selection of retailers offering more engaging campaigns to increase pre-Christmas sales, rather than relying on blanket promotions and predicts that these engaging campaigns will be more successful than blanket promotions.

UK retailers including Burton, The White Company, Claire’s, Topman, BCBGMaxazria, River Island, French Sole and Elias and Grace, have been offering different deals every day or discounts on specific product categories for one or two days only in the run up to Christmas, with many of them have also featuring advent-style calendars or the 12 days of Christmas as a promotional theme for their sales.

“For me, retailers who are using flash sales and discounts on specific product categories to pique shopper interest and maximise returning traffic and footfall are incredibly smart – they're competing without killing their profits,” added Camilleri. By offering a wide variety of deals and offers, UK retailers have the added advantage of being appealing to a wider range of consumers, which will help protect their profits this Christmas.

Luxury British brand Burberry is tapping in Twitter and offering advice to last minute Christmas shoppers in a bid to boost sales.

Burberry sales assistants will be working around the clock on the social media platform and responding to tweets under the #BurberryGifts. The associates will reply to individual questions with personalized gift ideas and direct links to purchase items.

The Twitter Christmas campaign is Burberry's latest offering on the social media site. Earlier this year the heritage brand was one of the luxury first retailers to trial Twitter's e-commerce service, 'buy button,' which allowed consumers in the US to purchase their nail polish via the site.

The luxury label also used the website to share real-time images of it's Autumn/Winter 2013 women's ready-to-wear show, another first for Burberry.