Holiday Season Highlights in Online Retail

While the holidays like Singles Day, Black Friday, Christmas, Harbolnas Day, Hanukkah and New Years’ are becoming global holidays, the months between late October and December have become the most important time of the year for retailers. In terms of sales, all consensus of reports, analysis and case studies conclude that this holiday season was the most successful so far. In the last months, retailers have generated more revenue than the previous year, especially in the eCommerce space. For eCommerce retailers, this holiday season brought a higher AOV and more traffic.

  • PayPal 2016 Holiday Predictions report, mobile devices contributed a third of online shopping globally this Black Friday weekend.
  • IBM reported that globally, online retail sales have increased more than 28% over 2015 statistics.
  • Alibaba increased sales by 32% and reached a revenue of $17.8 billion.
  • ShopperTrak points out that although 90% of retail sales generated in brick-and-mortar stores, the store shopping rates have dropped by 1% this Black Friday weekend.
  • The KPCB Report & Mary Meeker assumes Google and Facebook own 76% of Internet advertising growth in the USA — and this percentage is rising.

Rise of Digital Shoppers

As Mary Meeker predicted in 2016 Internet Trends, retail brands continue to mature digitally and leverage the data available to them for more effective marketing and customized customer experiences. As US originated holidays like Thanksgiving and Black Friday becoming globally celebrated days, online sales for global retailers have increased simultaneously. ShopperTrak points out that although 90% of retail sales generated in brick-and-mortar stores, the store shopping rates have dropped by 1% this Black Friday weekend. With deals extending through the weekend to Cyber Monday, IBM reported that globally, online retail sales have increased more than 28% over 2015 statistics.

Mary Meeker’s report also predicted that by 2018, China will become the world’s largest and most energetic eCommerce market and so far Asia-Pacific eCommerce market exhibits 10% higher growth than the worldwide average. Numbers from the holiday season in the APAC region also back up this assumption. On Singles Day 2016, which was celebrated on November 11th, the online retail giant Alibaba increased sales by 32% and reached a revenue of $17.8 billion.

The proved preeminence of eCommerce sales this holiday season has added another item to marketers’ checklist for the next holiday season: enhancing digital customer experience even further. Marketers are expected to invest more in innovative marketing technologies in the upcoming years.

Mobile Growth

According to PayPal 2016 Holiday Predictions report, mobile devices contributed a third of online shopping globally this Black Friday weekend. Their network reached a peak of 192 million online customers and 15 million retailers. Online retailers who have turned to adopting an omnichannel strategy with the use of technologies such as geofence were able to enhance their online and instore sales. Optimizing mobile experiences with small changes like personalizing the checkout journey and offering customer loyalty offers won big this winter.

Ad Spend

With record setting desktop and mobile sales, marketers took the opportunity to optimize their digital campaigns and ad spend. According to reports from Gartner and Deloitte Digital, the forecast increase in eCommerce sales led marketers to redirect a significant share of their budgets to digital advertising (mostly Facebook and Google ads), almost abandoning traditional billboards and print ads. Marketers increased their digital ad spend 16.1% on Cyber Monday, 17.9% on Black Friday and 13.8% on Thanksgiving Day.

Although mobile sales increased significantly, not a lot of digital marketers were interested in allocating their budgets to mobile ads. Instead marketers focused on improving mobile experiences. eCommerce companies prefered investing all their budgets in enhancing the mobile customer experience instead of mobile ads.

This holiday season, upon the advice of our experienced marketing consultants, Insider partners were able to offer customized digital experiences across all touchpoints over the holiday season . By leveraging various personalization tools like personalized banners, countdown timers, reminder splash screens our partners observed double digit uplift in conversion rates and had a merry holiday season!

To learn more about what personalization technologies Insider leveraged during the Holiday Season, watch our webinar on demand.