With Black Friday done and dusted for another year, retailers are being urged not to ignore a traditional favourite in the sales calendar – Boxing Day. 

Fashion brands and department stores in particular have been reminded to assess how they plan on boosting conversions around what remains their second-biggest date for sales. Ad personalisation specialist Criteo predicts a 147% uptick in purchases over December 26 as families around the nation go about spending their newly acquired wealth.

For advertisers, the emphasis will be on reaching consumers at the best possible moments in their purchase journey. Data from 2013 shows the period between December 22-25 showcasing a web-enabled trend as users scope out the best deals.  

Criteo says last year’s ‘research window‘ saw the proportion of unconverted site visitors lift by over a third – an event which the company attributes to users taking their time before placing an order. The group advises brands to build a “cookie pool” during this period in order to target the right audiences when Boxing Day comes around.

Then, when Christmas Day passes, site conversions shoot up. Criteo says this tends to be the case for fashion and luxury goods suppliers, who in 2013 saw conversions rise 35% on Boxing Day compared to December 22-25 and site traffic increase by 82%. 

As for the timing of sales, it seems the early birds will swoop to catch the worms. The majority (54%) of Boxing Day sales were completed before 4pm last year, with 9am-12pm encompassing sales peaks for smartphone, tablet and desktop devices.

Jon Buss, UK managing director of Criteo, says Boxing Day is a huge date for purchases on mobile, which should account for around half of all sales on December 2015. 

“Given the English propensity to queue, it is somewhat surprising to see the historic tradition of physically lining up around the block for Boxing Day sales is slowly dying out,” he added. “On the other hand, you only need to look at the abundance of smart devices and our enthusiasm for online shopping to understand why this purchasing behaviour is changing.
“Whilst the US has delivered us Black Friday, Boxing Day remains unmistakably British and this is reflected in some recent research we at Criteo have carried out, analysing millions of transactions from approximately 200 retailers during the last two years.