Adobe Releases 5 Holiday Online Shopping Trends to Guide Merchant’s 2019 Strategy

With the 2018 holiday season wrapped up, online merchants are looking toward 2019 and what they can do to tap into new opportunities.

An analysis by Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), using aggregated and anonymous data via Adobe Experience Cloud, looked at more than 1 trillion visits to US-based retailers.

The data included sales of more than 55 million unique products during the holiday period and provides a view on consumer shopping and buying habits.

With that information, Giselle Abramovich, Senior & Strategic Editor at CMO by Adobe narrowed it down to five key points for online merchants to consider in 2019.

1. A Focus on CX All Year Long Helps Drive Holiday Sales

CX is industry jargon for Customer Experience. The 2018 holiday shopping trends showed that short-term marketing strategies of promoting deals and offers worked only half the time in getting consumers to purchase products.

ADI found the last step in the customer journey was equally split between marketing-aided and consumer-defined channels.

50% of online holiday revenues could be attributed to marketing that directly impacted the customer journey (ie: paid search, email, social, display), and 50% of revenues came from unaided tactics such as direct traffic and natural search.

This demonstrates that building loyalty year-around drove many online purchases during the holidays.

“The findings really stress the importance of delivering an exceptional online and physical store experience all year long, so that when the time comes to buy, consumers think of your brand, product, or store first.”

Taylor Schreiner, director at ADI

adobe holiday recap 1

2. People Are More Comfortable Buying Online

The 2018 holiday season shopping total reached a whopping $126 billion, a 16.5% increase year over year.

Average daily online revenues also surpassed $2 billion for the first time ($2.1 billion on average), with 26 days of the 61-day period exceeding that mark.

The highest day for online sales was Cyber Monday and the lowest day was December 24, Christmas Eve. This shouldn’t surprise most online merchants.

READ ALSO: Adobe Analytics Shows Record Cyber Monday Sales with $7.9 Billion

adobe ADI HWU1

3. The Mobile Traffic-To-Revenue Gap Remains But Is Shrinking

More consumers are using smartphones to shop online, but sales still lack well behind browsing, but the gap is shrinking.

For the first time, smartphones accounted for more than half (51.4%) of all online visits during the 61-day period that ended on December 31. Additionally, 31% of online sales were made via smartphone, which is up 24% YoY.

ADI found that Christmas Day continues to be the most phone-centric day of the season, with smartphones comprising 61.1% of visits and 42.3% of revenue.

amazon holiday recap xmas day

4. The Thanksgiving Through Cyber Monday Weekend Kicks Off Holiday Shopping Mode

Despite Amazon and many other retailers trying to kick off the season earlier every year, most shoppers still look at Thanksgiving as the real start of the holiday shopping season.

The five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday accounted for $1 in $5 (19.2%) of total online retail revenue during the holidays.

Consumers spent an average of 40% more per day during the three weeks after Cyber Monday than the first three weeks of the season.

“We saw that holiday sales spiked on key days and then continued to rise until Dec. 21. The rising revenue was due to a steady increase in conversion as opposed to consumers spending more per order.”

Taylor Schreiner, director at ADI

ADI also found that retailers reached the $100 billion mark 11 days earlier in 2018 than they did in 2017 (December 15 versus December 26).

5. Retailers With A Compelling Online And In-Store Experience Have The Advantage

The convergence of online and offline is helping retailers gain more sales. Certainly, this benefits larger retailers such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Amazon or regional multi-store retailers more than just a single location operator.

ADI’s analysis found some distinct shopping patterns for retailers that have just an online presence versus those that have an online store and a physical location.

For example, retailers that have both physical locations and online stores saw a 50% increase in the usage of buy online/pick up in store (BOPIS).

While BOPIS baskets tend to have just two or three items in them, it provides an opportunity for store owners to upsell customers once they pick up their orders.

By comparison, online-only retailers have lower cart abandonment than their omnichannel competitors. Consumers are 44% more likely to complete their orders with an online only (Pure Play) retailer.

“We think a primary driver is how the interaction occurs. Pure play shoppers are also more likely to use a desktop, so that explains the lower cart abandonment.”

Taylor Schreiner, director at ADI

adobe holiday recap cart completion

What do you think about this analysis by Adobe Digital Insights? Please use the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.

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