Alter in Holiday Shopping Benefits Ecommerce

Analysts are forecasting that 2016 vacation ecommerce shopping will break records as national economic indicators improve and customer buying continues its shift from physical stores to the Web. Following are a few trends and expectations.

According to the Adobe Digital Insights report, online holiday sales will grow 11 percent over 2015, reaching $91.6 billion between November 1 and December 31. Earnings on Black Friday are expected to grow over 11 percent and reach $3 billion while Cyber Monday sales will grow by 9.4 percent to $3.4 billion. The largest growth rate will happen on Thanksgiving Day, with a 15.6 percent year-over-year growth.

Analyst firm eMarketer is estimating online holiday sales of $95 billion while the Deloitte Holiday Survey is calling a much more robust ecommerce operation — $96 to $98 billion.

EMarketer estimates vacation sales for retail ecommerce websites will grow 17.2 percent in 2016 from 2015, versus 3.3% increase for overall (ecommerce and brick-and-mortar) holiday retail sales.

Thanksgiving Day Shopping

The Thanksgiving Day boost will be partly attributable to the many chain stores and malls that have opted to remain closed on Thanksgiving. As an example, the biggest mall in the USA, Mall of America in Minnesota, has decided to close for Thanksgiving 2016 after being available for the previous three decades. Chains like BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, Dillard’s, hhgregg, IKEA, Nordstrom, Office Depot/Office Max, Sam’s Club, and Staples are also closed on Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving Day online sales are poised to set a new record this season. With Thanksgiving Day anticipated to be among the biggest mobile shopping days of the year, it gives retailers a chance to capitalize on ecommerce sales. Those retailers shutting their physical storefronts on Thanksgiving Day can still boost their bottom line by forcing consumers on the internet and offering special deals. Additionally, it gives consumers an opportunity to avoid the mad rush in shops, even if this means purchasing on mobile devices at the dinner table, and provides some retail workers an additional day off,” said Becky Tasker, managing analyst, Adobe Digital Insights.

Alter in Shopping Trends

Consumers appear to be tiring of the audiences, long checkout lines, and parking hassles that accompany the brick-and-mortar shop buying experience. Holiday shopping at big box stores will fall four percent from last year (59 percent of shoppers will go to a big box store in 2016 versus 63 percent in 2015) and shopping at conventional malls will fall three percent (50 versus 53 percent) according to the Deloitte 2016 Holiday Survey.

Deloitte also predicts that spending on gifts will be like the 2015 year, with customers planning to spend, on average, roughly $430. Shoppers plan to spend as much money online as they do in brick-and-mortar shops.

Mobile Shopping

EMarketer forecasts that mobile will account for 29 percent of ecommerce sales. Almost 80 percent of Deloitte Holiday Survey respondents expect using their smartphone for holiday shopping with 57 percent doing price comparisons, 51 percent reading reviews, and 50 percent obtaining product details.

For the first time, Adobe Digital Insights forecasts that mobile will surpass desktop site visits by 53 to 47 percent. While the smartphone are the most popular platform for surfing, most shoppers will run transactions on a desktop computer. Mobile will account for just 34 percent of earnings with a 19 percent difference between visits and purchases. Desktop conversion is 2.7 times greater than mobile.

Thanksgiving and Christmas will be the largest mobile retail days of the year, with mobile representing 59 percent and 66 percent of visits, respectively.

Marketing

In accordance with Adobe Digital Insights, surveyed consumers revealed they consider email the best source of holiday promotions, followed by display advertisements.

Merchants will need to be prepared now with vacation promotions. Twenty-seven percentage of Adobe Digital Insights’ poll respondents stated they would begin their shopping before Thanksgiving. Many retail stores and ecommerce vendors are already advertisingBlack Friday begins now” discounts. However, according to the Deloitte survey, 40 percent of consumers expect to perform the majority of their buying in December.

Deloitte estimates that one-fifth of gift purchases will happen because of a sale or marketing. The search for discounts will steer a fantastic deal of internet shopping, as 56 percent of customers go online to find deals.

Free transport is an expectation for holiday shopping, with 71 percent of Deloitte survey respondents stating they’ll make the most of it. If merchants do not offer it, shoppers will appear elsewhere. The definition of rapid shipping has changed also. Now more consumers expect things to be delivered in 2 days and 64 percent of survey respondents stated they wouldn’t pay extra for two-day shipping.

The Amazon Effect

Amazon has raised the bar for all ecommerce merchants as customers’ expectations regarding in-stock goods, delivery costs, rate, returns, and customer service are climbing. Online merchants will need to have their”A game” prepared this holiday season.