Are we really talking about Christmas…

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Top Stats from Hitwise’s Peak Planning Webinar

If retail events in 2018 have taught us anything, it’s that it is time to think about peak planning.
The industry is in a different position than it was last year, from mass store closures to game-changing M&A activity. The Beast from the East also wreaked havoc in February and March, impacting not only the high street, but the online performance of key verticals, like Apparel and House & Garden.

The toolkit for digital marketers and ecommerce specialists has also shifted. With GDPR, changes to Facebook’s algorithm and the growth of influencer marketing, retailers are needing to re-think how to segment, market and engage with prospective customers.

All of this and more was covered in Hitwise’s Peak Planning Webinar. We looked at: key findings from 2017’s peak period, key events that have occurred year to date, as well as recommendations and tactics for planning for 2018 peak.

If you didn’t get a chance to tune in, here are some of our top stats from 2017’s peak:

1. Cyber Week and Christmas Week grew by 5%+, to reach over 1 billion online retail visits.

Peak period still revolves around two major events – Cyber Week and Christmas Week. 2017 also saw higher activity in the Pre-Black Friday window, which continued the trend from the previous year of retailers starting their promotions earlier and making these last for longer.

Christmas Planning

2. Whilst Cyber Week saw more online activity, conversion rates were at its highest two weeks before Christmas.

Despite more activity, the average conversion rate was at its lowest over Cyber Week (i.e. the ratio of visits that led to a sale was 4.8%-5.0%). Instead, conversions were at its highest two weeks before Christmas. This implies that there was more noise over Cyber Week, but higher quality shoppers converting in the pre-Christmas window.

Christmas Planning

3. We are also getting more last minute! Searches for “e vouchers” rose 215% YoY in the week before Christmas.

“E vouchers” rose exponentially in the last minute shopper window. Amazon was the clear winner receiving 13.6% of the “e voucher” search traffic. Key to Amazon’s e voucher strategy was their vast range of products, from the standard “A for Amazon” to seasonal “Christmas Penguins” and “Christmas Reindeers” e-gift cards, all of which converted at over 20% on Amazon’s site.

Christmas Planning

4. The top 10 retail sites accounted for 45% of all online retail traffic.

Amazon once again dominated over peak, receiving 26% of all online retail traffic. The top 10 results were more or less stable compared to the previous year, but 2017 saw two new entrants – Asos and Boots entering the top 10.

Christmas Planning

5. Big players still dominate, but innovative retailers and brands were able to grow 30%+.

This included retailers that have transformed their models, such as Matches Fashion and Matalan. Both retailers started on the high street, but have since accelerated their growth and product offering online. As well, retail disruptors with a keen social following, such as Pretty Little Thing and Gymshark, saw 60%+ rises in online traffic. These brands have also succeeded in continuing their growth trajectory well into 2018.

Christmas Planning

For more top findings and recommendations for 2018 peak, take a look at Hitwise’s webinar here.

How does your brand match up against the competition? Read more about competitive benchmarking here.

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