Forget Foursquare and Facebook. e-Christmas sales driven by free shipping
That’s the hard-to-ignore conclusion we draw from the latest online holiday sales figures, which showed a big surge late last week from shoppers cashing in on a “free shipping” gambit rolled out this year by 1,500 retailers.
According to comScore, online sales on Dec. 17th (also known as “Free Shipping Day”) topped 942 million, the third single highest tally of the holiday season behind “Cyber Monday” (Nov. 29) and “Green Monday” (Dec. 13), two other days filled with big discounts from retailers.
This is not to say that innovative mobile shopping apps (like the one we saw introduced by Best Buy) and turning Facebook into a massive Groupon-style bazaar (as Walmart has done) won’t succeed in driving sales. We’re certainly not ready to kill off the promise of social retailing. But, at the end of the day, it is old-fashioned discounts and bargains that bring in the sales, not the bells and whistles.
Finally, we should mention that through Dec. 17, the e-Christmas sales tally stood at $27.4 billion, a 12% increase on last year, and about $4.5 billion shy of the predicted $32 billion e-Christmas take. In the week before Christmas online sales tend to run out of steam before the traditional retail sector. Hitting that $32 billion target could be tough.