Making your plans for the 2015 holiday seasons should already be underway. You can see in our last post that people are starting their holiday shopping even before September.
Now that you know when people are shopping, you need to know where people are making their purchases. To figure that out, we’ll see where consumers made purchase last holiday season.
In this post, we’ll discuss data that tells us where we should expect people to spend their holiday budget. Hint: it’s online.
In-Store Holiday Sales vs Online Holiday Sales
In 2014, total holiday sales increased 4% to $616.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). That’s a lot of sales, but they didn’t all come from the same place. When looking at where sales were made, we can break it down into two easy categories: store and non-store sales.
Store sales would include department stores, discount stores, clothing stores, and electronics stores. Non-store sales would include anything that is online, or eCommerce. So, websites and marketplaces like Amazon or Etsy.
Historically, tradition has been that most sales were made in-store. You may think of Black Friday lines that circle around stores like Target and Best Buy. Or, the race inside the store to get one of the 12 TVs put on sale for 75% off.
Holiday shopping in-stores can be brutal.
It’s no surprise then that more and more consumers are making holiday purchases online. This is made possible by technology advancements, use of mobile devices, and sellers striving to provide a better online experience for customers.
An increase in online purchases has been a trend the past few years, and this year should be no different.
Last season, non-store holiday sales grew 6.8 percent to $101.9 billion. And this year, NRF forecasts online sales to increase another 3.7% to as much as $105 billion.
That’s a positive sign for e-tailers. If you’re not already paying attention to eCommerce, you should be for this 2015 holiday season.[bctt tweet=”Online sales expected to increase again this year. #holidayshopping #retailtrends”]
2015 Holiday Shopping Trends: eCommerce
Online shopping is convenient for holiday shoppers. They can easily search, compare prices, and buy on marketplaces such as Amazon or eCommerce sites of their favorite stores. They aren’t restricted to when they can buy items and can avoid the typical holiday crowds in-store.
But if you want to win over online buyers, you’re going have to be ready to win in a competitive digital landscape. You aren’t going to be the only seller looking to get a piece if that $105 billion pie.
Therefore, you’re going to want to keep in mind these best practices:
- Provide detailed product information so that customers can search and find your products
- Make sites easy to navigate and mobile responsive
- Provide exclusive online promotions and deals, especially for Cyber Monday
- Streamline check-out processes to be fast and convenient
- Have real time inventory availability updates to avoid overselling
- Provide multiple shipping options
- Deliver professional and helpful customer service
Two of these best practices you’re going to want to pay special attention to are Cyber Monday and having a responsive website. See why:
2015 Holiday eCommerce Trends: Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday. This year the date is November 30th. While holiday shoppers expect to find online deals the entire season, Cyber Monday is the day they expect to find the best.
Shop.org’s eHoliday 2014 survey found that 97.6% of online retailers polled say they will offer specific Cyber Monday deals.
If you’re banking on seeing an increase in your eCommerce sales, you better have a plan in place by Cyber Monday. That’s because you’ll see most of your online sales happen that day. According to data from Criteo, who specializes in digital performance marketing, their database showed that online sales were the following in 2014:
You can check out Criteo’s full checklist for performance for the 2015 holiday season here.
It’s not just enough to know that Cyber Monday is important for online sales. You also need to know what times people are shopping that day and what devices they are using to do so. NRF’s Holiday Headquarter’s provides us with that data.
According to NRF’s research from 2014 Prosper Insights & Analytics, the top times when people shop on Cyber Monday are early morning (40.8%), late morning (37.9%), and early afternoon (32.5%). Respondents could choose more than one timeframe that they planned to make purchases.
This means that you can expect those same timeframes to be your busiest again in 2015.
More and more consumers are relying on their mobile devices to purchase products, which brings us to our next trend.
2015 Holiday eCommerce Trends: Mobile Optimization
If you plan to employ an eCommerce strategy this year, mobile should be a part of that strategy. More consumers are relying on their smartphones and tablets to research and then purchase products. Retailers who want to meet these types of customers are looking to invest in mobile optimization.
Nearly seven in 10 (69.1%) retailers polled in Shop.org’s July eHoliday Survey in 2014 said they are invested in optimizing their mobile websites prior to the holiday season, up from 57.4% who said so last year.
Why are people so interested in mobile optimization? Criteo has the answer. They reported in their 2015 Holiday Countdown eBook that:
In Q4, 40% of online retail sales in the US will be performed on mobile devices, and conversion rates are X2.1 on mobile-optimized websites vs non-optimized sites.
You can see that mobile optimization is going to be key in 2015 when pulling in online sales.
More 2015 Holiday Shopping Retail Trends
Just as in 2014, eCommerce is going to be another important holiday shopping trend in 2015. Retailers looking to cash in on online shoppers needs to pay close attention to Cyber Monday sales and optimizing their website for mobile, among other best practices.
Another important trends for 2015 is how retailers plan to handle shipping and fulfillment for their increase in online.
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