The week of December 5th may arguably be the most strategically-important week throughout our holiday e-commerce calendar. As 30% of retailers expect to run out of stock by December 10th, this week could be the final big push for online sales until after the holidays.
NetElixir’s Latest Holiday Forecast
Towards the end of November, we saw the biggest gains in three categories: fashion and apparel, consumer electronics, and gifting (i.e., subscription boxes, stationery, flowers, etc.). Mobile sales rose dramatically during the beginning of November, accounting for 56% of all online orders compared to 50.5% last year.
Earlier in the month of November, we saw trends of panic buying, especially within the fashion and apparel retail category. Conversion rates for apparel alone were up 40% YoY, compared to about 13% across categories. Latency (the time between first website visit and the final purchase) shrunk by 5% in November 2021 compared to 2020. Leading up to Cyber 5, customers shopped more frequently and quickly.
During Cyber 5, however, customers converted at a lower rate than last year and did not buy as much. Weaker Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions may have discouraged shoppers.
December 5 – 11, 2021 Online Sales Summary
We may still see quick conversions at the beginning of this week, but expect conversions to drop slightly and latency to increase slightly; after the build-up to Cyber 5 weekend, customers will slow down again and look for gifting inspiration as they may plan more last-minute in-store shopping.
At the beginning of the week, we see very high online sales growth. We expect at least 12% YoY e-commerce growth on Sunday and Monday. Sales will drop throughout the rest of the week to less than 5% YoY growth.
We expect some large retailers to test creative promotional strategies throughout this week. Watch out for big brands like Target and Walmart that may run unique promotions. Be prepared to capitalize on online traffic and run your own promotions. Midsize and smaller businesses will need to be nimble and be ready with their game plans. After a slower-than-anticipated Black Friday, retailers may need to reconfigure their holiday promotions to entice shoppers to continue buying. Larger retailers can afford to run sweeter promotions and since they’re winning market share, other brands should follow suit to stay competitive.
Overview of Cyber 5 Results
Some highlights of the crucial holiday weekend include:
- Online sales fell 7% YoY
- Website visits YoY are relatively flat
- Weaker Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions may have turned away some customers
- Thanksgiving Day had the highest average order value (AOV)
- Shoppers are informed and prudent about their purchasing decisions and are willing to wait for a better deal
- CPCs are up 40%+ YoY for most retail categories
- Full-funnel marketing is more important now than ever before so strong branding throughout the year pays off during these critical online shopping periods
As consumer behavior is constantly evolving, it is important to continually check in with how and when your customers are searching and shopping online
Keeping an Active Digital Presence
Retailers have to make difficult choices in regards to their future holiday strategy. They can focus on driving up revenue by being more flexible with ROI cut-offs to preserve or gain market share. By continuing to focus more on ROI, brands risk sacrificing revenue and losing valuable market share. It is critical to be decisive; doing nothing is not an option.
Don’t let stockouts bog down your marketing strategy. Use this time to promote user-generated content of customers using and gifting your products. Take the time to gather reviews and conduct customer surveys to better inform your 2022 strategy. Invest in your brand strategy so you can be memorable to customers in the future. Consider showing off your employees and putting faces to the online interactions customers dealt with throughout the year. Just because you may not have product left to promote does not mean you should quiet your digital presence in the last days of the year. Build up your community, take the time to thank your customers for their support, and tease what they can expect in the new year!
Say no to average this holiday season. Learn to identify, engage, and win high-value shoppers with NetElixir’s customer intelligence platform, LXRInsights. We’re leveraging our real-time customer insights to stay up to date with your consumers’ rapid changes in online shopping behavior.