Retail sales over the holiday season grew by 3% to $626.1 billion last year, below the forecasted growth rate of 3.7%, reports the NRF, which also noted that non-store holiday sales grew by 9%. Weather, inventory challenges and early-starting discounts contributed to the lower-than-forecast increase, per the report.
Meanwhile, recent figures from Adobe indicate that online sales grew by 12.7% during November and December, exceeding its forecast of 11% growth. Of note, mobile grew to represent half of all traffic during the holiday period, although that growth came exclusively from smartphones (up 9% points to 39%) as tablet traffic declined by 3% points (to 11% share). Still, desktops accounted for the vast majority (73%) of sales.
A previous report from comScore tabbed desktop retail sales growth at 6%, with preliminary figures indicating mobile sales growth of 59% contributing to an overall e-commerce rise of 13%.
For its part, Custora reports e-commerce growth of 12.1% over November and December, with more than 30% of sales being placed on mobile devices. A strong majority (76.9%) of mobile orders were placed on Apple devices. Custora’s figures also indicate that search (organic: 21.5%; paid: 17.7%) drove almost 40% of orders, followed by email marketing (20% share).
About 1 in 10 consumers expect that today (December 23) will be the day when they buy their last holiday gift, per results from the NRF’s last holiday season study. The survey, which was conducted at the beginning of this month, found that another 1 in 8 consumers will finish their shopping later than today, including 5% who will wait until after Christmas Day.
Respondents to the survey estimated having averaged slightly more than half (53.5%) of their shopping during the period when the research was fielded (December 1-9). Among those who had completed less than half of their shopping, the main reasons given were:
Slightly more than 1 in 5 respondents in this group also indicated that they are still waiting for the best deals on holiday merchandise.
In other results from the survey:
Now that Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday are in the rear-view mirror, a number of sales results are coming out. While the exact figures differ from one source to the next, the key trends appear to be: a substantial increase in smartphone traffic; a dip in in-store sales on Black Friday; and Cyber Monday’s e-commerce growth making it the largest e-commerce day yet.
The following recap summarizes the main points from a host of research sources, with links provided for those who would like to explore the data in more detail. (Note that there is a considerable amount of data on leading shopping items, referral sources, etc. from sources such as Adobe Digital Index that are not covered below.)
Almost 6 in 10 US adults say they either definitely will (28%) or may (30%) shop this Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday through Sunday), with that figure rising to more than three-quarters of 18-24-year-olds (78%) and 25-34-year-olds (77%), per the NRF. Among those adults who plan to or may shop online or in-store this weekend, Black Friday (74%) is the most popular day, followed by Saturday (49%), Sunday (23%) and Thanksgiving (22%).
Meanwhile, asked about their plans for Cyber Monday, about 8 in 10 respondents said they either definitely would or may shop online that day.
The NRF figures are broadly in line with survey results from Deloitte, which found that close to 6 in 10 (57%) of consumers plan to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend, in this case defined as Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Interestingly, the results indicate that shoppers are more apt to shop online on Black Friday (66%) than on Cyber Monday (52%). That’s backed by research from Criteo, which notes that, based on an analysis of Thanksgiving weekend transactions last year, Black Friday may be as big of a day for e-commerce as Cyber Monday for some retailers, particularly pertaining to mobile commerce.
Separate data from Cofactor (previously G/O Digital) also predicts a strong increase in retail traffic from mobile devices this weekend, with its analysis of 30 retailers, 2,100 brands and 35,901 stores indicating that mobile phone visits and tablet visits to leading retailers’ websites were already up by almost 50% year-over-year in October.
Who’s potentially going to benefit most from a surge in mobile traffic? In looking back at the 2014 holiday season, SimilarWeb notes [pdf] that Gap brands (+150.9%) and Best Buy (+117.5%) had the largest single-day increases in mobile web traffic on Thanksgiving Day, while Nike (+76.1%), Zappos (+71.9%) and Wayfair (+63.9%) had the biggest increases on Black Friday. The report also indicates that Amazon.com and eBay.com together received more than half (51%) of all mobile and desktop web traffic on Cyber Monday, though Newegg (+103.7%) had the biggest boost in mobile web traffic.
The following is a list of data points from other research related to Thanksgiving weekend.
Below is a list of research and data surrounding the holiday season that was originally published in early November.
The holiday season is here, which means (among other things) that a plethora of studies are being released surrounding spending trends, retail destinations and shopping attitudes. This article (which will be updated periodically during the holiday period) highlights key points from holiday-related research for what appears to be a fairly bright season in terms of spending.
[Editor’s Note: Unlike holiday data hubs from years past (including this one), this year’s version will not break the findings out by category (such as popular gifts, destinations, etc.). Instead, this article will highlight a couple of unique findings from each piece of research, loosely lumped together by category. Readers interested in more data are encouraged to follow the links provided to access the studies.]
Before getting to the list of interesting findings from the body of research that’s been released so far, it’s worth taking a look at the broad forecast for this holiday season:
For their part, CMOs responding to a BDO USA survey are expecting a 4.2% increase in overall holiday store sales, a slightly higher forecast than gathered last year (4.1%).
But wait – ditch the forecast? PwC says that spending forecasts aren’t as relevant as a deeper understanding of the retail landscape and a focus on distinct consumer segments.
The following list highlights key points from the studies cited above – along with several others. It’s worth noting that for the most part, these studies indicate that consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier, and that e-commerce will be a larger factor this year. As such, those findings will be largely omitted from the following list, with some exceptions.
Topics: African-American, Alternative Connected Devices, Boomers & Older, Brand Loyalty & Purchase Habits, Content Marketing, Customer Service & Experience, Data-driven, Direct Mail, Email, Free-Standing Inserts & Circulars, Hispanic, Household Income, Loyalty & Rewards Programs, Magazines, Mobile Phone, Newspapers, Paid Search, Personalization, Promotions, Coupons & Co-op, Retail & E-Commerce, Return on Investment, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Spending & Spenders, Tablet, Traditional, TV Advertising, Youth & Gen X
Subscribe now to receive more charts and articles like this in your inbox. A fast read in a clean, mobile-friendly design.