Was Boxing Day a match for Black Friday? Did tablets outperform desktops for sales? All has been revealed in affilinet’s lowdown of stats over the Christmas period.

The group examined data from 2,500 advertisers and 500,000 publishers in order to provide a comprehensive overview of online sales and web traffic over key dates in the e-commerce calendar. 

Christmas 2014 saw many analyst predictions prove true, as US-inspired events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday encouraged retailers and consumers to join in with the sales extravaganzas. Affilinet examined information from across its network during November and December, and the main takeaways are as follows:

Boxing Day is out-boxed

December 26 may be one of the oldest sales events in the UK, but affilinet discovered that Black Friday – taking place on November 28 – drove far more transactions than Boxing Day in 24 hours. A lot more, in fact; the difference between sales on Black Friday and Boxing Day being a gulf of 144%.  

Cyber Monday also outscored its post-Christmas rival last year, driving 60% more sales than Boxing Day over December 1. 

Also touching on the in-store impact of both events, Helen Southgate, UK MD at affilinet, said: “Boxing Day was traditionally the day when retailers rubbed their hands with glee, with customers lining up round the corner looking for bargains, but now it appears consumers are embarking more and more on a pre-Christmas splurge. 

“The American post-thanksgiving tradition Black Friday really hit the UK for the first time this year, bringing with it pandemonium to high streets and policemen to supermarkets to stop fights over discount TVs.”

Down but not out…

Despite not being able to match the contributions of Cyber Monday and Black Friday, Boxing Day was still found to be driving a noticeable lift in web traffic and sales. Its impact on the former was seen in site visits over the Christmas period.

Affilinet also saw a 36% uptick in sales over Boxing Day 2014 compared to those on Boxing Day 2013. This led to affilinet claiming that online sales on December 26 are increasing year on year, but not quite at the pace of Black Friday, which drove 220% more transactions than in 2013.

Tablets chip in

Purchasing habits have also changed in recent years, and retailers often use Christmas as a way of testing which devices are driving the most sales.

Desktop is still the dominant purchase gateway for online sales over Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day. However, tablets are growing in power, and went on to drive nearly a third of transactions (30%) over Boxing Day. 

This could have resulted in a multi-billion pound gain in 2014, according to readings from IMRG and Capgemini’s e-Retail Sales Index.

Also published this week, the report backed UK online sales to hit £104 billion in 2014 – surpassing the £100 billion mark for the very first time.