Home improvements chains see surge in web traffic

Homebase and B&Q saw the biggest gains in Boxing Day traffic
Homebase and B&Q saw the biggest gains in Boxing Day traffic
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Homebase and B&Q have enjoyed sharp increases in Boxing Day web traffic as shoppers’ minds turned to home improvements.

Analysis by industry researcher SimilarWeb found that Homebase witnessed a 138 per cent surge in visitors between Christmas Day and 26 December, based on combined desktop and mobile traffic.

Rival B&Q saw the number of visits to its DIY.com website jump by 94 per cent over the same period.

The figures came after Notonthehighstreet.com, an online marketplace that showcases thousands of UK designers and creative small businesses, hailed a “successful” Christmas period with year-on-year growth of 25 per cent for the four weeks leading up to 24 December.

READ MORE: Online festive sales leap not to be seen on the high street

Overall, SimilarWeb said the UK’s largest retailers saw a 16 per cent year-on-year increase in online traffic on Boxing Day.

Aside from the home improvements chains, the other big winners were supermarkets, with Sainsbury’s registering a 71 per cent one-day jump in traffic, followed by Asda at 68 per cent and Marks & Spencer with a 61 per cent increase.

Two-thirds of consumers browsing online shopping sites on Boxing Day did so via their smartphones, the research found.

A raft of trading updates will be released over the coming fortnight with those retailers who have invested heavily in their online operations expected to have fared the best.

SimilarWeb said firms with dedicated online shopping apps had also enjoyed a strong rise in active users, with home-shopping channel QVC leading the with a 62 per cent jump. Asda’s app use grew by 52 per cent, followed by Geek at 49 per cent and Argos – owned by Homebase parent Home Retail Group – rising 41 per cent.

Pascal Cohen, digital insights manager at SimilarWeb, said: “Boxing Day provided major online boosts for leading home improvement retailers who registered some of their biggest spikes in traffic for the entire year.

“Retailers also appreciate that the majority of their customers are now browsing and buying over this period on their smartphones, and appear to be offering a seamless service across all touch points on one of the busiest shopping dates of the year.”

The figures follow news that John Lewis had made a strong online start to its clearance sale with website orders up almost 11 per cent year-on-year on Christmas Day. This followed an increase of 17.7 per cent in the first hour of the online start to the sale at 5pm on Christmas Eve.

Analysts said the internet was playing an ever-increasing role in shoppers’ search for bargains in clearance sales as well as during the crucial run-up to Christmas.