Amazon Dominates, Desktop Wins Sales During Holiday 2016

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Amazon continues to dominate ecommerce and desktop was the channel that saw the most sales among consumers during an overall strong holiday season, while bricks-and-mortar took a beating.

Adobe Digital Insights reported that total online sales reached $91.7 billion in November and December, up 11% over 2015. One staggering stat: online sales topped $1 billion on 57 of the 61 days between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.

In that same period, 50% of visits to a retailer’s websites were from desktop, while its share of sales was 69%, according to Adobe, compared to 41% and 21%, respectively, for smartphones. The tablet share of visits was just 9% and share of sales 10%.

The average shipping cost over the holidays was $2.50, Adobe reported, peaking at $4.10 on Dec. 20. The lowest-cost shipping day was Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, both at $1.60.

The top mentioned retailers during December were eBay, Amazon, Walmart, Target and H&M.

Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 5, email share of sales was 15.4%, direct traffic to sites was 26.9% and social share of sales was 0.9%.

Twenty-seven out of the 28 days in November topped $1 billion in online sales.

The National Retail Federation reported its numbers for holiday sales in November and December.  Holiday retail sales increaed 4% over 2015 to $658.3 billion due to a strengthened economy which encouraged consumers to spend even more freely than expected.

This number includes $122.9 billion in non-store sales which were up 12.6% over the year before.

The numbers exceeded NRF’s forecast of $655.8 billion, which would have been an increase of 3.6% percent. NRF had forecasted that online sales would grow between 7% and 10% percent to as much as $117 billion. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

December was up 0.2% seasonally adjusted from November and 3.2% unadjusted year-over-year.

“These numbers show that the nation’s slow-but-steady economic recovery is picking up speed and that consumers feel good about the future,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retail mirrors the economy. And while there might have been some bumps in the road for individual companies, the retail industry overall had a solid holiday season and retailers will work to sustain this in the year ahead.”

“There has been a lot of talk about online versus in-store retail in the past few months, but that comes from people who don’t realize that online and retail today are the same thing,” Shay said. “In the new distributed commerce world that allows consumers to buy any product, anytime, anywhere, it really doesn’t matter whether a customer shops in a company’s store or on its website or mobile app. It’s all retail. Today’s retailers sell to shoppers any way they want to buy.”

“The economy was clearly stronger in the fall and consumers were more active during the holiday season than they had been earlier in the year,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Economic indicators were up, retailers offered great deals, confidence improved and all of that empowered consumers to spend more.”

While the e-commerce data for retail sales from the commerce Department is only available on a quarterly basis, NRF expects ecommerce sales during the holiday season to be on par with recent quarterly releases showing 16% growth year-over-year.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the Commerce Department, which said today that overall December sales — including automobiles, gas stations and restaurants — were up 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from November and 4.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
comScore reported that desktop sales during the holiday hit $63.1 billion, up 12% from 2015.  Cyber Monday was the peak, with more than $2 billion in spending for the third year in a row. It was also the first year that saw mobile commerce topping $1 billion.

“The 2016 online holiday shopping season had another successful year, with desktop growth rates in line with our expectations and once again far exceeding that of brick and mortar,” said comScore CEO Gian Fulgoni in a release. “We also saw strong mobile commerce spending in November, with mobile’s share of total ecommerce coming in well ahead of the 20% mark it reached in Q3. Once December mobile commerce data is tallied, we expect spending from smartphones and tablets to lift holiday spending growth from 12% on desktop to within our original forecast range of 16%-19%.”

First Data reported that overall holiday spending was up 4.7%, more than double the 2015 gain of 1.8%. The digital shift continued apace: 21.3% of all transactions were from ecommerce, up from 15.4% in 2015.

Amazon Prime Now grew significantly during the late holiday season compared with 2015, according to Slice Intelligence, and was a significant part of Amazon’s business, accounting for 13% of the company’s U.S. sales, up from 10% in 2015.

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