While consumers are out picking out Halloween decorations, eating candy corn, and drinking pumpkin spice lattes, online retailers are focusing on preparing their sales strategies for the biggest spending time of the year.
This year, there are only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas, as compared to 31 days last year. That means that shoppers only have 4 full weekends to shop, rather than last year’s 5.
Research firms are projecting U.S. online retail sales to be unprecedented:
- eMarketer predicts a 15.1% growth in U.S. holiday retail sales.
- Deloitte LLP predicts a 12.5% to 13% increase in U.S. non-store sales (mostly online).
- In 2012, e-retail sales grew 13.7% over the prior year to $42.3 billion, according to comScore Inc.
The Holiday Season Begins Now
Due to a shorter holiday period, retailers are starting their marketing campaigns earlier than ever, in order to not miss out on sales. According to a survey just released by Experian Marketing Services:
- 18% of marketers surveyed began planning their holiday campaigns starting in June;
- 69% started their holiday marketing campaigns in August;
- 70% of retailers have a plan to use a promotional offer this holiday shopping season;
- 29% will offer free shipping;
- 28% will offer a deal-of-the-day;
- 21% will offer online coupons;
- 3% will offer layaway.
The Top 5 Holiday Marketing Channels
The survey also listed the top five marketing channels that retailers plan to use this year:
- Online Display Ads (59%)
- E-mail (55%)
- Print (46%)
- Search (30%)
- Mobile (24%)
Mobile Holiday Marketing Campaigns
Mobile marketing will be even more important this year than last. According to the survey by Experian Marketing Services:
- Over 43% of retailers are developing mobile-optimized sites;
- 37% are busy creating mobile-optimized emails for their campaigns;
- In addition, 31% of retailers will be using mobile advertising, such as geolocation promotions.
eMarketer predicts that m-commerce will account for nearly 16 % of ecommerce sales this year, which amounts to $41.69 billion.
A Rise in Online Shopping
While retail sales are predicted to rise 3.9% this holiday season, a vast percentage of those sales are going to be made online (Reuters). ShopperTrak predicts that in-store traffic will fall 1.4% this year, compared to last year. Due to the stress and long lines in the malls, shoppers are turning more and more to shopping online.
Large retailers, such as Toys ‘R’ Us, are catching on to the ecommerce trend. By combining their brick-and-mortar stores with the power of ecommerce, Toys ‘R’ Us has become a $1.1 billion global ecommerce business.
NRF’s Shop.org division forecast a 13% to 15% increase in ecommerce holiday sales, reaching up to $82 billion this year.
Watch for more information about the holiday season on our blog in the coming weeks, and don’t miss our webinar, “Conquer the Holidays: Strategies for Maximizing your Ecommerce Conversion Rate”