It was a good holiday season for online retailers in 2017 — particularly Amazon. According to Gartner, online retail sales rose 14.7 percent year-over-year during the 2017 holiday season to $108 billion.
Amazon was the big winner in that increase. Around 50 percent of online purchases during the season were made on Amazon — the previous year it represented 38 percent of online sales.
But for all of online shopping’s gains, the brick-and-mortar store was still the home to the vast majority of holiday shopping last year. Nearly 85 percent of holiday sales were in physical stores in 2017. Moreover, the study found that having both digital and physical channels seemed to be an advantage when it came to attracting customer spend. Over 60 percent of retailers showcased their in-store inventory on their online product pages, up from 35 percent in 2016.
On-time delivery of gifts remains a concern of 91 percent of consumers this year, up 6 percent from last year, according to delivery service Dropoff’s annual holiday survey. Meanwhile, retailers are not only dealing with more delivery orders — but a greater demand for those orders to go out later in the holiday season. According to Dropoff, 77 percent of consumers say they plan to shop at the last minute during the 2018 holiday season — a 15 percent rise over last year.
Facing that environment, the Gartner study concludes that retailers and brands have a very omnichannel Christmas ahead of them.
“To compete against the leading players in digital retail, [direct-to-consumer] brands must provide a series of baseline and advanced omnichannel features and functionalities, including real-time inventory on product pages and expedited shipping, in time for the holidays, all while communicating offerings,” according to the report.