The much anticipated Black Friday weekend is finally here – which means Christmas shopping season begins in earnest right now!
As is tradition, Adobe has released its ecommerce predictions for the period and it’s great news if you run an ecommerce website as the figures suggest that this year could be even more lucrative than the record breaking Black Friday weekend of 2018 that saw online spending reach the highs of the biggest ever online shopping day in history.
So, what does Adobe data suggest this most wonderful time of the year has in store for your ecommerce website this time around?
eCommerce sales should top 2018 figures
Adobe predicts that eCommerce sales figures for the holiday shopping period of November and December will reach £108 billion in the US alone, a figure which is 14.1% higher than the same period last year.
This year’s holiday shopping season is actually shorter than that of 2018 by six days, meaning spending will be more condensed this year. As a retailer, that means you can expect to be much busier in the run up to Christmas, as there are just 22 shopping days between Cyber Monday on 02 December and Christmas itself. Despite this, Adobe expects that transactions per day will average one billion, meaning the truncated timeframe shouldn’t be felt at your virtual tills.
Cyber Monday is again expected to be the pinnacle of the shopping period, with predictions suggesting that it will be 18.9% bigger than last year. Part of this is undoubtedly fuelled by the fact that over half of shoppers now say they like to concentrate their gift buying on important days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Around 30% of the days spending will take place during the so called ‘Golden Hour’ which actually spans several hours between 7pm and 11pm. Many shoppers log on to check out during this time due to a fear that they’ll miss out on deals otherwise. Conversion rates are doubled during this period – as a retailer you can use this knowledge to your advantage by making sure you’re extremely visible across those hours. This could mean ramping up your Google Ads spend or investing more in paid social media promotion for that time period.
Shoppers increasing using mobile devices
Three in four of every dollar or pound spent will come from a smartphone purchase this holiday season – with smartphone shoppers accounting for no less than half of the total retail increase predicted for 2019. On key dates throughout the shopping period, smartphone shopping will rival desktop shopping – but on Christmas Day, more consumers (47%) will shop from their smartphone than a desktop (46%) for the first time ever.
What’s important from this statistic is the kind of product that is purchased from smartphones, with Adobe suggesting smaller ticket items are most popular. Those who buy on desktops tend to focus on bigger ticket items, spending 28% more. If you sell items that are more expensive and require greater research, such as new items of furniture or white goods, then it’s worth ensuring you’re totally optimised for desktops and providing shoppers with plenty of content to help the decision making process, such as images, videos, reviews and product comparisons.
Adobe says shopping is easier from smartphones this time round, noting “Shopping from smartphones is more straightforward now, becoming shorter in terms of pages visited and time spent per visit. Time per visit has decreased by 11% since Jan 2016, while the number of pages consumers browse through has decreased by 14%. The result is improved efficiency for online stores converting our browsing time into dollars spent. The amount of money we spend per minute of browsing online has increased by 63% since Jan 2016, from just 30 cents per minute to 47 cents per minute.”
The takeaway from this? The time and resources you dedicate to optimising and refining the user experience on mobile directly translates into sales.
Don’t discount social media
Social media is often overlooked from a sales perspective but, while many retailers may not log sales directly from the likes of Facebook or Instagram, social media drives a not insignificant amount of traffic to ecommerce sites, up from 4% in 2016 to 11% today. Around 20% of shoppers also say they have purchased something as a direct result of a social media or influencer recommendation – making this an important part of your overall holiday shopping strategy.