Holidays Are for E-Commerce


Retail e-commerce sales are set to increase 16.4 percent to reach $262.3 billion in 2013, according to eMarketer estimates, after increasing by 16.2 percent in 2012. Almost one-quarter (23.5 percent) of U.S. retail e-commerce sales will occur in the last two months of the year, 15.1 percent more than holiday-season sales accounted for in 2012. Of that total, e-commerce sales will total $41.7 billion this year, and escalate to total more than $100 billion in 2017. Tablets continue to grow in popularity for retail purchasing, accounting for 62.5 percent of U.S. retail m-commerce sales overall.


With mobile increasing its share of all e-commerce sales logged, retailers are focusing on omnichannel campaigns and dedicating more dollars to digital advertising—about $9.4 billion this year, up 14.9 percent from 2012 and representing 22.3 percent of all U.S. digital ad spending. What’s more, eMarketer estimates that about two-thirds of retail digital ad spend will go toward direct response formats including classifieds, email, lead generation, and mobile messaging.


Evidence shows that multichannel shoppers tend to spend more than single-channel shoppers, especially when they are exposed to a unified customer experience. One of the key benefits of an omnichannel strategy, according to a report from customer-experience analytics firm ForeSee, is that it can help counter “showrooming,” the practice of looking at an item at retail before buying it in another channel. Other strategies effective against showrooming include price-matching and cheaper, faster fulfillment options.


While the economy has improved, most U.S. consumers plan to keep their holiday spending at the same levels as 2012, with only 8.9 percent intending to spend more. The two demographic groups with the largest shares of planned holiday spending were boomers (32 percent) and Gen X (34 percent), with $39.5 billion and $41.7 billion, respectively, likely the result of having more children to buy for than seniors or millennials.