Stores Put Up Dukes In Boxing Week Push

In an effort to put a little more gas into what has been a mediocre holiday, retailers are pumping up post-Christmas discounts, with Kohl’s, Kmart and the beleaguered Target offering discounts of up to 50, 60 and even 70% off.

And so far, it looks like consumers are ready to pounce on those Boxing Week bonanzas, with IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark data showing that Christmas Day online sales jumped 16.5% from last year. And mobile traffic was the highest recorded this holiday season, accounting for 48% of all online traffic. People were shopping with those phones, too, with mobile sales that day accounting  for 29% of all online sales. (That’s  a 40% increase from last year.)

Meanwhile,  the latest MasterCard SpendingPulse survey indicates that while Christmas 2013 didn’t blow any stores’ socks off, sales did rise a respectable 2.3%. (That estimate covers Nov. 1 through Dec. 24.) Jewelry was a big winner, as compared to last year, and clothing also saw some modest gains. Sales of luxury and electronic items, however, were flat.

"The holiday shopping results are in line with expectations, but several factors impacted retail sales this year," says Sarah Quinlan, MasterCard Advisors’ SVP, in its release. "Having six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as bad weather in some parts of the country for the final two weekends of the season clearly had an effect on sales. Yet holiday sales were a clear improvement over last year’s weaker numbers. One clear bright spot is that many consumers who were stuck indoors turned to online shopping to check items off their list and that helped drive ecommerce growth."

And, of course, retailers are hoping that the many gift cards sold during the holiday period will be redeemed quickly. Target, still reeling in the PR hell of its Black Friday data breech, says Boxing Day is the most popular day for gift cards to be redeemed, with some 7% of all cards being redeemed in the week after Christmas.

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