Shoppers with sales FOMO will drive record-breaking spending this year

  • More than £1.7 billion[1] expected to be spent online this coming weekend
  • Estimated £828 million[2] to be spent on Cyber Monday alone in the UK

As the floodgates open for the 2016 holiday shopping season on Friday, UK shoppers are expected to spend a record-breaking £1.7 billion online between Black Friday and Cyber Monday as predicted by Sage.

While the UK continues to see overall economic recovery, growing consumer confidence will be reflected in Christmas spending on the high street and online. According to a survey sponsored by Sage, nearly three out of four holiday shoppers admit to going over their budget on their Christmas spending.

The billion pound bombardment will spike on 30 November, better known as Cyber Monday, when UK consumers will spend £828 million in online purchases.

“As UK small businesses embrace the US holiday sales trend, they need to be prepared for the increased sales volume both in stores and online,” said Seamus Smith, CEO of Sage Pay. “That includes staffing properly, stocking inventory and also making sure they have a reliable payments system in place.”

While not all companies will take advantage of the sales spike this year, those that do will need to be prepared for a 13% increase in sales from last year.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be stressors for both shoppers and for retailers, and we’ve seen some high profile organisations shy away from the seasonal sales this year,” Smith added. “But our research shows that almost 60% of consumers are planning to take advantage of the sales and will be ready to spend more than they did last year with their favourite retailers.”

The research uncovered some interesting insights including:

  • 39% of shoppers have a fear of missing out (FOMO) on a good deal or sale.
  • Nearly 71% of UK consumers report they prefer the online experience to braving the crowds during the holiday shopping season.
  • 20% of shoppers blow their budgets on Black Friday due to bargains they can’t resist.
  • On Cyber Monday, the average transaction value will be more than £105.[3]
  • There’s been an 80% increase in the amount of transactions seen by Sage during Cyber Monday over the past 6 years.[4]

Last year, Sage correctly predicted that UK shoppers would spend more than £600 million on Cyber Monday alone. Sage Pay also predicts that midday will be the busiest time for online shopping, in line with predicted online traffic patterns from the past two years

However, Sage Pay’s Head of Security, Michael Owen, says consumers and businesses need to be on the look-out for fraudsters during the Sales.

“Fraudsters are hoping that with increased volumes of sales coming in and a sudden change in how some people are spending, they will be able hide in the data and go unnoticed,” says Michael. “For businesses online, there are usually a couple of warning signs that transactions might not be all they seem.  Look out for particularly high orders of identical items, or the same item bought in a range of sizes.  Fraudsters may often test a bank card out with a very low cost purchase followed by several higher value ones.”

Michael’s top tips for businesses on staying secure during the sales this weekend are:

  • Have a plan and resource in place in case things start to go wrong and a plan specifically to address denial of service (DoS) attacks, and make sure that plan has been tested and can be turned on quickly
  • Keep an eye out for things that might be a distraction; activities that could draw away your attention to focus on a less important system while attackers hit something critical
  • Don’t let your fraud detection mechanisms slip because you’re too busy, or because you think the load might be excessive – now isn’t the time to relax these controls
  • Keep the lines of communication between your teams open. Conversations between groups like Customer Services, Security, and Operations can play a key role in catching incidents and stopping attackers. The last thing you want to hear after the weekend is “We saw something funny, but we were a bit busy…”

To learn more about Sage Pay’s research, read “Yule Be Sorry: How to avoid Christmas Shopping FOMO” by visiting:

[1] Estimate based on a percentage increase of 13% year over year.

[2] Estimate based on a percentage increase of 13% year over year.

[3] Estimate based on percentage increase from last year’s Sage Pay transaction data.

[4] Based on Sage Pay’s internal data of the total number of transactions processed during Cyber Monday (2009-2014 inclusive).