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November 16, 2015

Trends in Ecommerce Sales during the Holiday Seasons in 2015

The holiday season running from November through December is one of the best sales periods for eCommerce businesses. There are numerous holidays such as Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, Boxing Day and there are special days such as Black Friday, Green Monday and Cyber Monday that businesses can take advantage of to boost their sales — but it takes the right strategies.

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are always big days for eCommerce sales as consumers go on a shopping bonanza and loosen their wallets to take advantage of the various special offers, deals and promos being offered. The biggest shopping days are actually in the week-long run to Thanksgiving where there is generally a tsunami of consumer spending and deal hunting and many eCommerce stores come up with lots of creative deals to take advantage of consumers’ good will. A lot of this generally focuses on the Black Friday, however, which is the biggest online shopping bonanza in the U.S.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday eCommerce Sales

In 2014, the Thanksgiving and Black Friday holidays saw online retailers rake in $1.5 billion in total desktop spending, according to ComScore. During the 28-day U.S. holiday season running from November to December, a total of $22 billion was spent online, a 15 percent boost over the previous year. Thanksgiving sales also saw a great boost with a 32 percent rise to $1 billion in spending. Last year’s Black Friday spending was even stronger, hitting $1.5 billion. All in all, desktop sales rose 26 percent over 2013.

Strong spending in 2014 was driven by a number of factors such consumers becoming more responsive to online deals as well as many shoppers who opted to stay at home during Thanksgiving to shop online rather than go to stores.

Cyber Monday eCommerce Sales

Cyber Monday offered the greatest opportunity for online retailers to capitalize on the holiday-rush post-Thanksgiving. A TechCrunch article quoting data from Forrester Research indicated shopping in the U.S. and Europe on Cyber Monday topped $130 billion. Based on data by IBM’s Benchmark tool, online selling grew by 17 percent over the same period in 2014 which is a good sign. The same trend is expected to continue this year.

Role of Smartphones to boost holiday eCommerce sales

Mobile remained a strong driver of eCommerce traffic and sales accounting for 51.2 percent of all browsing along with 28.9 percent of all eCommerce sales. Companies that had invested in a mobile eCommerce shopping cart or even mobile app for eCommerce had an obvious edge over rivals that had not. There has been a tremendous rise in cell phone use. In 2014, there were an estimated 214 million Smartphone users in the U.S. and this year, that number is expected to increase which will further drive the growth of mobile browsing and mobile shopping. The good thing for retailers who have focused on mobile commerce sales is that customers with Smartphones prefer the convenience of mobile shopping and can easily capture the latest mobile deals on the fly. In 2013 and 2014, the proportion of users who used their phone to shop online was 34 percent and 38 percent respectively. In 2011 and 2012, those figures were 21 percent and 23 percent respectively which shows a strong growth trend.

As per the report from IBM digital analytics benchmark report, here is how mobile commerce has made a milestone on holiday seasons 2014.

The strongest mobile consumer platform for browsing and shopping online remains iOS-run devices. Additionally, consumers with bigger screens are generally more likely to make mobile purchases than those with smaller Smartphone screens.

Mobile eCommerce Sales Outlook for 2015 for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday

In 2015, the holiday shopping season is going to see similar strong trends in online consumer spending, mobile deals, better e-mail marketing and more robust mobile commerce infrastructure as many retailers looking to capitalize on the holiday shopping rush. According to report by the research company eMarketer, U.S. retail transactions are going to experience strong growth this year. In November and December, retail sales could grow by 5.7 percent over the same period last year. Online retail spending is expected to grow by 13.9 percent and will account for nine percent of all the retail shopping in the U.S. Mobile commerce is expected to continue its strong growth and mobile sales will exceed 25 percent of the total ecommerce sales. This is driven by a number of factors including the increasing number of people who have bigger and better Smartphones, more responsive websites by retailers and even mobile apps which simplify purchases.

How to Capitalize on the Holiday Shopping Mood in 2015

Companies that made the most sales on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Green Monday and Cyber Monday used some nifty strategies to attract and convert more customers. Some of these strategies include:

  • Planning Ahead: Decide the holidays that you plan to participate in and prepare well for them with promotional offers, marketing plans, banners and other creative approaches. If you will be doing holiday sales and marketing for the first time, then you can focus on Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Christmas.
  • Have a promotional calendar: After choosing your holiday, clearly map out the steps that you will take in order to launch your holiday promo campaigns.
  • Work on the payment options and return policy: Incorporate as many payment options as possible. You may also want to update the return policy for holiday shopping.
  • Decide which ad channels you are going to focus on.
  • Prepare your marketing materials, promo materials, e-mail marketing blasts to be sent out, ad copies, blog content along with the landing pages.
  • Launch your campaigns based on the promotional calendars prepared.
  • Track and modify campaigns accordingly.

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Abhishek Agarwal is CEO and Co-founder of MobiCommerce and Design’N’Buy. Abhishek is an IT graduate from BITS, Pilani and with an entrepreneurial experience of 13 years, Abhishek is a visionary who proactively looks out for the next big thing. He is well versed with trends in the market and love to write about them. He has expertise in brand management, marketing and advertising, promotions, and content marketing.