It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and the most hectic. Holiday campaigns are in full swing and early Black Friday deals are ramping up the holiday frenzy. In September, NetElixir released our 2021 Holiday E-Commerce Sales Calendar to help you better plan your promotions, anticipate customer shopping habits, and prepare for the holidays. Now, we’re back with a week-by-week breakdown of our calendar forecasts for the upcoming week. Using our latest real-time data and expert insights, we’re sharing what you can do to make the most of this seven-day period.
NetElixir’s Latest Holiday Forecast
We have seen steady growth in online sales throughout October and the beginning of November. Within our own dataset of small- and medium-sized businesses, we have tracked the following sales growth across industries:
- September saw only a 3% YoY increase
- October 1st-15th saw a 15% YoY increase
- October 16th-31st saw a boom in sales, culminating in a 27% YoY increase
- November 1-8th so far has seen a 40% YoY increase
The online sales spike started around October 20th. Within the last week, we have seen that people are buying about 2% quicker than last year. Although that is a minute shift, it still speaks to the sense of urgency in shoppers. NetElixir is already seeing a 7-13% increase in AOV compared to last year. Customers are buying full-priced items, as they’d rather have their gifts now than risk not having anything.
NetElixir’s Founder and CEO, Udayan Bose, says, “Gifting has become a means of freedom, almost, and a means of expression. We’re seeing people buying a lot more gifts right now, as a way to make up for the opportunities lost last year and missed celebrations. Gifting this year is almost like saying ‘I’m over with COVID, I’ve defeated COVID.’ People are buying more gifts to share with more people this year.”
In September, we predicted a 6-7% YoY growth in online sales for the holiday season. We made a conservative estimate based on subdued e-commerce growth in Q3 and a quiet back-to-school season. However, based on recent shifts in online shopping behavior, we are increasing our prediction to 12-13% YoY. This growth is on top of last year’s 33% increase from 2019.
Take a look at what we can expect for the upcoming week.
November 14 to 20, 2021 Online Sales Summary
The week of November 14th to 20th will start off with a projected 5-12% higher sales volume YoY, compared to the same days last year. The week will taper down slightly to more moderate growth of less than 5% YoY.
We saw a similar trend of more sales at the beginning of the week last year. Our FACES book breaks down the online shopping behavior of high-value customers across retail industries. In this year’s edition, we analyzed how consumer behavior evolved throughout the pandemic months. We track the customer journey of the high-value shoppers for nine retail e-commerce categories (B2B, Fashion and Jewelry, Home Furnishings, Baby Care, Pet Supplies, Beauty and Cosmetics, Gifting, Tactical Gear, DIY Tools, and Food and Gourmet). During the 2020 holiday season, starting in mid-November, six out of those nine high-value customers made most of their purchases on Mondays.
In mid-November, ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we are predicting major deep discounts and promotions from big and small brands alike. Retailers should look to get creative with category-level and product-specific promotions in order to stand out from the competition. It’s crucial to use this time to generate brand awareness and drum up excitement about your upcoming deals.
Induce Early Shopping Behavior
Last year, 26% of shoppers finished their holiday shopping by the first week of November. Whether that holds true this year remains to be seen, but there are plenty of customers who need inspiration for their holiday shopping.
This year, with expected supply chain issues and inventory shortages, customers are expected (and in fact, encouraged) to complete their shopping sooner rather than later. By mid-November, customers are still searching and generating ideas for their holiday wishlists, so ensure your products are featured at the top of everyone’s list. Use holiday content gift guides to highlight products specifically for your Black Friday and Thanksgiving promotions, to get customers excited for the upcoming deals.
The pandemic introduced new online shoppers to the e-commerce landscape, as well as reshaped many customer personas. Understanding your customers’ needs and expectations will help you craft more targeted and engaging ads. Speaking directly to your customers’ behavior will help ensure you stand out from the competition and win the right customer for your brand.
Online shopping behavior is constantly and rapidly changing. It is important for marketers to be in the moment to respond to their customers’ behavior. NetElixir is continually aggregating and analyzing our real-time e-commerce data using our customer analytics tool, LXRInsights. Remaining agile and nimble to seize any opportunity to engage shoppers is crucial to having a winning holiday season.
This year marks our 13th annual holiday forecast and our holiday e-commerce calendar is a cornerstone of the forecast. We’re becoming known as the company with the calendar, so be sure to download your calendar to stay on top of daily updates and seize every opportunity within your industry.