Mondays Not Blue for Holiday Marketers

(Direct) Online marketers should welcome Mondays during the holiday shopping season, according to new research from online marketing analyst Atlas, because that’s the day of the week when they will see the heaviest Web traffic.

Between Thanksgiving and the holidays, the study shows, shoppers tend to tour the malls and stock up on gift ideas, then do their online comparative price shopping on Mondays.

“Mondays are to online retailers what weekends are to offline retailers,” said Young-Bean Song, director of analytics for Atlas, a division of aQuantive. “Our study clearly shows consumers shop in the store on the weekends and on Monday continue their holiday shopping experience, searching for better prices and bargains online.”

Atlas’ fifth annual online holiday study is based on analysis of anonymous holiday shopping from Nov. 22, 2004, to Jan. 31, 2005, across 96 companies managing their online campaigns with the Atlas digital marketing suite. The study leads Atlas to predict that Internet shopping will peak this year on Dec. 12 and will remain strong into January thanks to the popularity of gift certificates and strong traffic in returns and exchanges.

“Over the past five years, the most striking change in online holiday shopping patterns is the change in the ‘busy season,’” said John Chandler, senior Atlas analyst. “In 1999, the peak shopping day was shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday. Since then, consumer confidence in the online channel has risen dramatically to deliver consistently steady and strong shopping volume up to five to seven days before Christmas.”

The Atlas study recommends that online marketers:

* Target weekend shoppers with their messages, and maintain a consistent message between retail and online outlets.

* Be sure to market during the lunch hour. Consumers are most likely to be shopping online during the noon-to-3 p.m daypart and most likely to be at the office when they do so.

* Monitor paid search campaigns, which follow a similar pattern to transactions in general. Clicks occur 12% more often on Mondays in December than average.