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Amazon drives the bulk of holiday sales for many e-retailers

October 25, 2016 02:28 PM
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Amazon will be a key selling channel for many online retailers during the holidays.

A survey of 200 online retailers in the United States and the United Kingdom by e-commerce vendor ChannelAdvisor Corp. and brand consulting firm Morar Consulting finds that 55% of online retailers surveyed say they expect Amazon to generate the most sales for their businesses compared with other online channels during the 2016 holiday season. Retailers say Amazon outpaces eBay, which 19% of respondents say will lead online sales, and their own e-commerce sites—14% say their own sites will be their top web sales channel during the holidays.

Survey respondents were e-commerce executives from retailers that brought in more than $25 million in sales in the past 12 months. The survey sample was drawn from a random selection of businesses by Morar. 

Many e-retailers are bullish on this holiday season, as 48% expect their holiday web sales to increase and only 29% believe their sales will stay flat or decline compared with the 2015 holiday season. Among the key strategies and challenges e-retailers say they expect to face are these:

Strategies:

  • 64% of respondents plan to start holiday promotions in October or sooner. 31% of respondents started seasonal promotions by the end of July, up from 22% who last year said they started in July.
  • 30% of retailers say their cut-off date for guaranteed on-time Christmas/holiday deliveries is Dec. 20, and nearly one in five businesses is now willing to guarantee delivery by Dec. 25 for orders placed as late as Dec. 22.
  • 38% of e-commerce companies plan to increase their digital marketing/advertising budgets to increase holiday sales this year.

Challenges:

  • 51% of those surveyed say they worry about filling orders on time.
  • 28% say adjusting to competition is a challenge. For example, retailers say it’s a challenge to adjust their strategy when competitors lower their prices through promotions.
  • 17% say competing with Amazon is a challenge. The question in the survey did not clarify whether this referred to competing with Amazon’s own products or all products on Amazon.com.

In terms of payment, outside of debit and credit cards, 69% of retailers note PayPal as the third-most popular payment method. PayPal is followed by Amazon Payments (18%) and Apple Pay (17%).

 

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