As we prep and brace ourselves for the holidays, recent indicators suggest another growth year for online shopping. Here are some highlights from the early returns:
According to IBM (derived from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark and published here, last week’s online shopping data indicates the following:
Thanksgiving Online Sales Up 14.3 Percent, Mobile Sales Up 25.4 percent
Black Friday Online Sales Up 9.5 Percent, Mobile Sales Up 28.2 percent
New York City Claims Top Spot among U.S. Cities for Online Shopping (a plug for my city!)
While the news suggests growth, it should be tempered by the National Retail Federation survey results. According to the NRF, “the average person who shopped over the weekend spent $159.55 online, approximately 41.9 percent of their total average budget, down 10.2 percent from $177.67 last year.” The NRF’s analysis attributes the decrease in consumer spending to the prevalence of early online promotions. To me, the news suggest a more longitudinal trend. As merchants spread out there promotions, purchasers are more inclined to spread out their shopping.
When you add the EARLY results from Cyber Monday, however, the activity continues to trend upward. According to the Washington Post, “(Adobe’s) analysis of Cyber Monday shopping that found that overall sales hit $2.65 billion, a 16 percent increase over last year.” And interestingly, “as has been the case in previous years, shopping peaked between 9 and 10 PM.” (Nice to know when that peak server is most critical!)
As the national picture becomes more apparent, we have benchmarks on which to judge ourselves. We can slice and dice the data to compare our own performances. Clearly, the trend for online purchases continues to climb. Subjectively, it seems that the promotions, the product assortments, and the buying experiences improve, as merchants become more attuned to the needs of their customers. Additionally, more people seem to enter the online buying community.
I look forward to seeing how the rest of the season goes, how our clients perform, and what other merchants are doing across the industry. There is lots to learn.