November 8, 2018
The days of enjoying Thanksgiving and then rising before dawn for Black Friday shopping is a thing of the past for U.S. consumers, who are increasingly turning to online shopping. Online purchasing also plays a key role in driving the popularity of Chinese-coined Singles’ Day, which has quickly become the largest online – and offline – shopping day in the world. With this changing eCommerce playing field, retailers are forced to alter the way they conduct business to remain competitive in peak season eCommerce sales markets.
Let’s take a look at recent eCommerce sales trends. Through 2012, U.S. holiday shopping was statistically at the top of the charts for eCommerce sales when you combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday in preparation for Christmas Day gifting. According to Statista, the U.S. climbed to nearly $7B in annual eCommerce revenue in 2017, while Singles’ Day in China shows continued explosive growth and is now penetrating global markets. For that same year – 2017 – Singles’ Day generated a staggering $28B in total retail sales, more than three times the sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Lengthening sales cycles.
Historically, these retail-heavy holidays were concentrated on a single day or over a week’s time. In recent years, however, holiday sales have come to blur together with Black Friday simply representing a marker along the holiday shopping cycle that runs from November through the end of December. Each year the deals start earlier and run longer. In 2017, total U.S. holiday sales (during Nov-Dec) totaled in nearly $700B, but Black Friday (Thanksgiving Day + Black Friday) only made up approximately $8B of that total, proving that the sales cycles are lengthening and consumers shopping outside the historic timelines.
With changing holiday shopping timelines, competition is fierce. If a consumer is only going to buy one big ticket item during the eCommerce peak season, they may not mind where it comes from…or exactly when in the holiday season they place their order as long as it arrives in time. This changing pattern highlights the truth of the old phrase ‘the early bird gets the worm’…which now applies equally to retailers as they race to be the first to have an enticing sale for consumers during this vastly lengthened holiday season.
Mobile sales capabilities.
Another holiday eCommerce trend on the rise is holiday eCommerce purchasing through mobile devices. Nearly 48% of online orders for Black Friday deals in 2016 were placed on mobile phones and mobile spending accounted for over $1B in sales according to Statista.
Even more impressive, 82% of 2016 Singles’ Day purchases were made on mobile devices, rising to nearly 90% in 2017. The numbers speak for themselves. Retailers are being forced to improve their mobile shopping capabilities to provide fast check-out and efficient processing for savvy, on-the-go consumers.
Personalization and customer service.
With lengthening seasonal sales cycles and an average of five channels through which a typical company sells, customers have a plethora of options for holiday shopping. Consumers are now looking to more than just price and availability to seal the deal. Brand personalization has become a key factor in sales, encouraging brand loyalty and and a sense of pride in consumers through personalized marketing inserts and targeted social media and email campaigns. Consider adding simple, automated touches to your eCommerce solution like personalized emails, branded packing lists, and marketing inserts to promote new product launches or upcoming sales.
Contact us to learn more about how to make your business stand out this holiday season.