Retail

Holiday Sales And Searches Up For 2016

During the holidays, consumer confidence was at a nine-year high, which pumped up spending and led to happier retailers. Then, experts noticed that sales and confidence were tracking better than expected. By the last day of the year, the Consumer Confidence Index was higher than even before the holidays, topping the highest level since 2001.

Now, sales results are in, and while some say they were conservative, other experts say 2016 is proving that it surpassed 2015 figures.

That’s according to NetElixir’s “2016 Holiday Season: By the Numbers” report, which culled various holiday-related shopping data. The report includes holiday traffic data from more than 90 visits to four different retail verticals — food, consumer electronics, apparel and gifts — over the holiday shopping season (Thanksgiving to Christmas), as well as search marketing data from Adwords, Bing and Yahoo and then sales data drawn from eCommerce sites.

In 2016, total eCommerce holiday sales bumped up more than 10 percent. At the same time, mobile device purchases alone nearly tripled.

Looking at various areas of the U.S., the highest increase in eCommerce sales came from the southern states (by nearly 20 percent), followed by the western states (10 percent), then central (6.5 percent) and northeast (6 percent), according to the report. Honing into the digital and conversion sales stats, impressions increased by about 36 percent, and conversions leapt up by almost 19 percent.

Udayan Bose, CEO of NetElixir, said that the growth figures can be attributed to several factors but namely events like Amazon’s Prime Day and consumers using their mobile devices to purchase. He noted that consumers made more but less expensive purchases in the latter channel — while the average cost-per-click increased by more than 1.5 percent, the average order value decreased by more than 5 percent — and added that the uncertain political environment did affect purchases as well.

“The uptick in mobile activity this holiday season caused conversions and impressions to increase fairly dramatically but caused overall [average order value] to decrease as people typically spend less on their mobile devices than on desktops,” said Bose in a release.

The report also showed that consumers were less likely to spend more in the morning but were rather ready to purchase more after noon through dinner time (12 p.m. to 8 p.m.). Bose added that the time of day will be important to retailers planning future digital marketing campaigns and learning more about when consumers are most compelled to purchase.

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