e-Christmas sales update: free shipping trumps Facebook?
The latest e-Christmas shopping tally is in and Americans have so far spent just over $17.5 billion through December 5th, up a respectable, but still slightly-under-forecast, increase of 12% year-on-year. And what’s drawing in the online shoppers? Free shipping.
In the last three weeks, over half the online purchases came with free shipping, a trusted promotion that usually comes on top of already heavy discounting. We reckon that’s good news for UPS and FedEx, but we’re starting to wonder if the online retail sector can be all that happy with this finding, courtesy of comScore. And what of social media’s impact on holiday sales. We only have one bit of research so far and that says about one-third of shoppers this holiday season say their purchase decisions are motivated by what friends and family post/Tweet/update everyday.
Back to the top-line figures… At a steady growth rate of 12% as we are now seeing, the full seasonal forecast of $32 billion will come up a bit short. In other words, the $32 billion e-Christmas prediction from comScore is predicated on a 13% growth rate.
We don’t want to write off the season, of course. There’s still a week to go. And those who’ve procrastinated will likely not see the same level of discounting as those who did their shopping early. Even comScore believes a rebound is in the works. ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni says: “We anticipated that the post-Cyber Monday period would experience a slight hangover after many of the retailers’ most aggressive deals and promotions expired, but we can expect to see activity begin to pick up again next week as we get into the middle part of December when online buying typically peaks.”