Next Generation Online Holiday Sales Customer Experience Trends

Wondering what consumers were interested in this year? Wondering what the top gift was? How many millions or billions of dollars of products were bought and where? How social networks played into the shopping equation? This post provides data on all of these topics and more. Adobe released its 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping data for the holiday season. Between November 1 and November 28, $32 billion have been spent online. That is 14 percent more than in 2013. Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday set new sales records with $1.33 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively.

When people talk about sleeping with their phones, it seems that the trend is continuing as mobile devices continue to play a dominant role. For the first time smartphones nearly doubled their share of total online sales on both days. November 11 (“Singles’ Day”) set a new sales record with $1.29 billion and is expected to surpass Cyber Monday in growth this year. The average order value for sales coming directly from a social network was led by Facebook with $114.45.

Wondering how the data was collected? The findings are based on the analysis of aggregated and anonymous data of more than 350 million visits to 4,500 retail websites. More than $7 out of $10 spent online with the top 500 U.S. retailers were measured by Adobe Marketing Cloud. Measuring this amount of data puts Adobe in a unique position to possibly deliver highly accurate, census-based online sales totals, pricing and product availability trends as well as other retail data.

For those companies that want and need this type of data to provide better and next generation customer experiences, this type of data is really important. Companies need to see where their customers are and where and how they make their purchase decisions. Some of the trends that Adobe was looking at are as follows:

  • Total Online Spend: Consumers spent $32 billion online so far this season, a 14 percent growth year-over-year (YoY). Both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday saw double-digit growth in online sales, 25 and 24 percent respectively. The increase in sales was driven by brick-and-click retailers, who saw the biggest jump YoY with nearly 30 percent. Online sales conversions also improved. 3.2 percent of visits resulted in a completed shopping cart, up from 3.14 percent in 2013. The average order value was $149 on Thanksgiving Day, and $142 on Black Friday. The number of people choosing to order online and pickup in-store rose to 45 percent above normal on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Mobile Trends: Smartphones and tablets continued to drive online sales. 29 percent of sales on Thanksgiving Day came from mobile devices, up from 21 percent in 2013. Mobile devices drove 27 percent of sales on Black Friday, three percent more than last year. The share for smartphones rose to 13 percent and almost doubled compared to seven percent last year. The share for tablets only increased slightly to 16 percent from 14 percent in 2013. iOS users drove four times as much mobile sales revenue as Android users, 79 and 21 percent respectively.
  • Best Deals: Between Sunday and Monday before Thanksgiving the average online price fell 5.5 percent, 0.5 percent more than forecasted, representing the highest price drop in a single day in 2014. Thanksgiving Day saw the lowest prices online with an average discount of 25.2 percent, 1.2 percent lower than in 2013.
  • Impact of Social Networks: The average order value (AOV) for sales coming directly from social networks was led by Facebook with $114.45. Pinterest came in second with $93.20, and Twitter drove online sales of $90.74 on average. Pinterest saw the largest YoY increase in AOV, up 16 percent. Facebook (seven percent) and Twitter (five percent) also saw slight increases. Two percent ($74.6 million) of purchases came directly from social media sites, which is flat compared to 2013.
  • Singles’ Day Surprise: For the first time, Singles’ Day let U.S. retailers start the holiday shopping season earlier this year. Online sales on November 11 set a new record with $1.29 billion, a 16 percent YoY increase, and close to online sales on Thanksgiving with $1.33 Billion. Singles’ Day is expected to grow faster than Cyber Monday and become one of the top five days with the lowest online prices this season.
  • Top Gifts: Social media buzz continued to be an early indicator for top gifts. 4K TVs saw the biggest jump in social buzz month-over-month (MoM) with social media mentions for Sony and Samsung increasing 350 percent. Fitbit led the wearable device category, which had 100,000 social mentions on Thanksgiving and Black Friday while iPhone 6 continued to lead in the smartphone category.

“Consumer use of larger screen smartphones helped drive significant increases in mobile online sales – enough to set records two days in a row,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst, Adobe Digital Index.

This type of data and its use- meaning not just data but insights that are business actionable-  are what will make next generation customer experience rock in the coming years. It will be interesting to see how many companies really begin to use “big data” and analytics in ways that end up helping companies gain and retain their customers.

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Service To Deliver Great Customer Experiences

Constellation Research

 

 

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