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Holiday shoppers drive site traffic and online sales higher

December 6, 2016 03:48 PM
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Interest in online deals showed no signs of slowing down hot on the heels of a strong Thanksgiving weekend.

Traffic to the top 25 U.S.-based online retailers was up 10% year over year Sunday and 4% on Saturday, according to data from the Verizon Retail Index shows.

Retailers should view this as a sign shoppers are both engaged and willing to spend, says Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “This healthy spike in weekend traffic demonstrates the importance of getting promotions right when consumers are focused on ticking items off their holiday shopping lists,” she says.

Meanwhile, data from Adobe Inc.’s Adobe Digital Index shows that U.S. shoppers spent more than $1 billion online on all but one of the 35 days from Nov.  1-Dec. 5, with Saturday, Nov. 5, being the only day that didn’t eclipse the $1 billion in online sales mark. Adobe’s data shows that Monday, Dec. 5, in particular was a lucrative day for retailers, with shoppers spending $1.94 billion, up 8.7% compared to the same day last year. Overall online sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 5 are at $52.16 billion, up 7.8% from $48.39 billion last year.

On the strength of a strong Black Friday, Adobe last week revised its online sales growth forecast from single digits to 11% for the 2016 holiday shopping season.

Shoppers this year have been paying less, on average, than they did last year for shipping during holiday season, though that’s expected to change in short order. Adobe reports shipping fees consumers paid were down by 8% during the stretch from Black Friday through Sunday (Dec. 4) compared with the same period last year. Adobe did not specify whether this was because retailers were offering better deals on shipping this year.

“Adobe forecasts significant increases starting on Dec. 12 (a Monday) so consumers should get their shopping done by then to avoid high (shipping) costs, which peak on Dec. 19 (a Monday) at nearly 3x higher than Thanksgiving ($4.45 per order),” the company writes.

Meanwhile, results of the five-day stretch from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday are still rolling in for retailers. Online electronics retailer Newegg Inc., No. 17 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, says its online sales increased 19.1% year over year, though Newegg declines to specify a dollar figure.

Custom-made omnichannel menswear retailer Indochino (No. 454) reported revenue for the month, which a spokeswoman says the company counts once an online order ships, grew by 109% year-over-year. Indochino did not provide a specific dollar figure.

As usual, consumer electronics rank high on the desirable products list, occupying seven of the top 10 “hot holiday products” spots tallied by web measurement firm Hitwise, a division of Connexity Inc., which tracks search data across 20 million websites using 500 million search terms.

Hard-to-find Hatchimals, which are “creatures” that come in an egg-shaped container and “hatch” in response to interaction with its owner, continue to hold the top spot, according to Hitwise, with Fitbit wearable devices again at No. 2 for the week ending Dec. 3, which included Cyber Monday. But both products lost share in search, week over week. “That could be due in part to shoppers having purchased more Fitbits during Black Friday sales as well as parents coming to the realization that even Santa himself may have a hard time getting his hands on a Hatchimal,” says John Fetto, senior analyst at Hitwise.  

“Beyond the top 10, here are some other trends Hitwise saw last week: Elf on the Shelf more than doubled search share as Santa's rascally watchdog returned to spy on American children,” Fetto says. “Apple Watch is gaining interest with a 32% increase in search share week over week, though searches are still just a quarter of what Hitwise registered for Fitbit.” Here are the top 10 hot holiday products, by search volume, according to Hitwise:

  1. Hatchimals
  2. Fitbit
  3. Yankee Candle
  4. NES Classic Edition
  5. Nintendo Classic
  6. Nintendo 3DS
  7. Lego
  8. Fitbit Charge 2
  9. Bose
  10. Amazon Echo
 

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