Holiday Season Shopping Expected to Finish with A Flourish

Unseasonably cold temperatures across the Northeast and Midwest kept some folks home and drove online shopping gains in the last full weekend before Christmas and Hanukkah, with ecommerce traffic up 11% on Saturday, and 16% on Sunday, according to Verizon, which tracked traffic on home-based Internet connections to the 25 largest U.S. online retailers.

Online sales across all devices were already on the uptick, according to Adobe Digital Insights. For the period of November 1 through December 20, Adobe reported:

  • Total Online Sales: $79.2B
  • Total Online Sales Growth: 10.7%
  • Difference vs. Prediction: 2.0%
  • 49 out of 50 days have resulted in over $1B in revenue
  • Desktop Share of Visits: 51%
  • Desktop Share of Sales: 69%
  • Smartphone Share of Visits: 40%
  • Smartphone Share of Sales: 21%
  • Tablet Share of Visits: 9%
  • Tablet Share of Sales: 10%

Although it would appear that ecommerce is trumping in-store sales, a Pew Research Center survey released this week reported that “64% of Americans indicate that, all things being equal, they prefer buying from physical stores to buying online.”

Several big retailers are making a push this week, to catch last minute shoppers.  Kohl’s is offering 20% off purchases of $100 or more, Macy’s has 20% off on everything, Best Buy is offering deep discounts on electronics and appliances, Target has (basically) discounted everything on the shelves, and Sears and Tractor Supply are following suit.

More Shopping to Come
An NRF Survey conducted by Prosper Insights found that the 156 million shoppers expected for December 17 topped the 154 million estimated for Thanksgiving weekend.  The survey also found that 12% wouldn’t buy their last gift until December 23, and nearly half plan to shop the week after Christmas. The NRF said 50% of shoppers purchased clothing or accessories; 36% toys; 34% gift cards/gift certificates; 33% books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games; and 23% consumer electronics.

Brick and mortar locations are making allowances for procrastinators. Most major retailers are offering in-store pickup of online orders until Saturday the 24th. Walmart is offering in-store pickups as late as 6 p.m. on Dec. 24, provided the order was placed by that same time the day before. But after 6 p.m., Walmart shoppers are out of luck, as the company will close 2 hours earlier than it did last year: “Our associates work hard all year to make this Holiday season special for our customers … we also know that getting home on Christmas Eve to spend time with families is important. That’s why this year we’ll be closing at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve,” said Judith McKenna, EVP and COO, Walmart U.S.

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