Slurp.co.uk CEO Dr Jeremy Howard today hailed a “breakthrough” in online wine sales as revenues surged over the Christmas period. The number of orders processed by Slurp jumped by 162% in Dec. 2011 (over Dec. 2010) – with revenue leaping by 73.4%. The value increase was despite a year on year decline in fine wine sales – meaning that UK retail sales were up well over 100%. Slurp saw especially strong demand for wine, spirit and beer gifts, pre-mixed festive cases and corporate presents. In addition, Slurp provided wine ‘treats’ to over 1,000 additional customers on behalf of a major UK retailer.
Slurp was surprised by the number of last minute orders from customers tempted by guaranteed Christmas delivery until 23rd December. Internet orders and website traffic peaked on 13th December – with traffic in the two weeks prior to Christmas averaging 200% higher than normal. Slurp experienced no serious delivery problems over the Holiday period, with its warehouse hub and courier network performing well.
Dr Howard said: “Having over 2,000 different lines in our West London hub for next day delivery really proved its worth this year. Customers were able to order to their exact requirements until very late – and they did! We saw no hangover from last year when mid-December snow led to some delays. The really pleasing thing for us was that well over 50% of customers ordering in December were new to Slurp.”
Wine, beer and spirits online retailing is still in its infancy in the UK, trailing other sectors like books, CDs, travel and insurance by a wide margin. Slurp believes that only around 11-12% of total wine sales are online currently, leaving huge scope for further growth in the online sector. Dr Howard concluded:
“Christmas 2011 saw the online wine sector really ‘come of age’. We expect many of the customers who shopped online for the first time to remain with us, hastening the migration from the high street struggle to the ease of screen and home delivery.”