By: Shelly Lowder
2018 Holiday Shopping Season Brings Exciting Times for E-commerce
The holiday shopping season is upon us so we wanted to give you a “peek” inside the predictions for this year’s e-commerce holiday shopping season. In 2017, Cyber Monday was another record breaker for online shopping. According to Adobe Insights, digital transactions reached a record $6.59 billion on Cyber Monday. That is a 16.8 percent increase from a year ago and makes Cyber Monday the largest online shopping day in U.S. history. While the 2017 holiday e-commerce revenue climbed to $108.2 billion, an increase of 14.7 percent year over year.
For 2018, the Deloitte Forecast is predicting e-commerce sales could reach as much as $134 billion this holiday season. This is a 17 to 22 percent increase over last year. They contribute this continued increase to “solid disposable personal income growth, which we expect will be in the 5 to 5.4 percent range”.
Consumers are looking for fast, convenient ways to shop without the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. There are a million things to do during the holidays in addition to gift shopping, so anything that will help make the process a little easier is more than welcome. Let’s take a look at 5 predictions for the 2018 Holiday Season that are sure to make this season the best yet!
Shoppers Start Early
The early bird gets the worm, ok well maybe not the worm but they could possibly get the best holiday gifts. Some consumers help ease the pains of holiday shopping by starting earlier. This helps with time management as well as the budget that we all know how it can get out of hand when you feel rushed to find those last minute gifts. Statistics show that consumers are making purchases earlier and earlier and many start as early as October. These earlier purchases are predicted to help drive record online sales for the 2018 Holiday season.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Top Days for Holiday Sales
According to an Adobe Digital Insights report, in 2017 Black Friday, a single day represented 4.6 percent of the total U.S. retail revenue for the holiday season. Meanwhile, Cyber Monday represented 6.1 percent of the total holiday retail sales.
Cyber Monday is a big deal for e-commerce businesses and rightfully so. Online shopping brings convenience and less stress. The thought of fighting the crowds to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list has shoppers rethinking their gift buying strategy and waiting for Cyber Monday or for their favorite store to offer online deals. By shopping online consumers are not limited to their local stores and product selection. The possibilities are endless as with a few clicks they have access to a much wider variety of products to complete their shopping list.
In 2018, it is predicted that the period between Thanksgiving Day (November 22) and Saturday, December 1 (the end of Cyber Monday week) will represent 37 percent of the total U.S. holiday retail sales.
If you own an e-commerce store, it’s time to get your game plan together and enhance your business to drive sales during this peak season.
Mobile Shopping Will Continue to Grow
Mobile shopping is another convenient way to complete your holiday shopping. It is predicted to make up about 52% of the total for 2018. Wow – that’s a big number! Some experts even predict a rise in mobile shopping on Thanksgiving Day so that consumers can take advantage of sales but also spend time with their family. What better way to do that than shopping from the convenience of your phone and having gifts shipped directly to your home.
If you have an online business, it’s important to make sure your website has a 100% responsive design so that you can take advantage of all those mobile shoppers.
4. Voice Shopping On the Rise
Digital voice-driven assistants is predicted to impact U.S. e-commerce sales during the 2018 Holiday season. According to the Pew Research Center in 2017, “46 percent of Americans have used some type of digital voice-driven device”. The increase in this method is being sparked by the use of Alexa. Everyone is trying to find new ways to make the Holiday shopping season more enjoyable. The use of voice shopping makes it easy to purchase gifts with using just a few words – giving shoppers a stress-free way to shop without the hassle.
5. Consumers Expect Fast, Free Shipping
Everyone loves free shipping and many consumers wait until free shipping is offered before making a purchase. It has become the norm during the holidays that shipping is free – people expect it. According to an AlixPartners survey, free shipping can make or break a retailer, with 96% of survey respondents saying that the availability of free shipping impacts their purchase decision, and 73% said that it has a great impact on their decision.
More than 70% of shoppers decide their shipping preference before checkout, and nearly 60% of shoppers browse for products based on their preferred shipping options. About a quarter of shoppers (26%) will buy from a retailer that offers free shipping, even if they would pay a bit less to buy the same item from another retailer that imposes shipping charges.
Not only do shoppers want free shipping, but they also want their purchases fast. The survey revealed that the maximum delivery time the average shopper will accept has fallen to 4.5 days, down from 5.5 in 2012. AlixPartners said that to satisfy them, retailers are scrambling to expand their networks of warehouses and distribution centers.
Managing consumers expectations of shipping and delivery is crucial to make any e-commerce business successful.
It’s an exciting time for e-commerce businesses. The online industry is growing leaps and bounds and is showing no signs of letting up. If you own an e-commerce store, congratulations, what a great time to be in the online space. We hope you find ways to take advantage of these predictions and they lead to a record year.
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