Cyber Week 2018: Previewing the Future…

Cyber Week 2018: Previewing the Future by Data-Crunching the Past

Cyber Week 2018 is just a few months away, meaning customers will soon be thinking about holiday shopping. What does that mean for brands and retailers who want to roll out the digital red carpet to target online customers? Perhaps more importantly, how can they convert browsers into buyers?

To answer these questions, let’s look at shopping trends from the 2017 holiday season (especially Cyber Week) to see how brands and retailers can leverage them to help drive sales:

The Top 500 retailers grew by 21%: We expect growth to continue in 2018

Overall, Americans paid 14.1 billion visits to the Hitwise Retail 500 during the last holiday season (including the months of November and December) which was a 21% increase over the 11.7 billion visits that Hitwise registered last season. That boils down to over 1.5 billion visits each week with the weeks of Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday generating the greatest traffic levels of the season, 2 and 1.8 billion, respectively.

One quick note – Retail 50 companies accounted for about 75% of holiday visits, so the other 25% were split among the other 450 retailers.

Cyber Week: Amazon and Shutterfly have the best conversion rates

Amazon dominated the Top 50 retailers in visit share, having captured 39% of all available eyeballs between November and December 2017. But while visits are nice, conversion is key, so did their success hold up?

Shutterfly’s 7.1% holiday season conversion rate (in November and December) edged out Amazon, which was 6.9%. This victory, however, was a short-lived reprieve from the usual results. Throughout the whole year (Aug. 2017 – July 2018) Amazon has converted 35% higher than Shutterfly. The whole report can be found here.

Double-down on mobile

Breaking down the mobile vs. desktop share of December traffic among the top 10 retailers uncovered two outliers. Amazon’s traffic was split nearly down the middle, while Apple received nearly 2.4x as many visits on desktop devices, rather than on mobile devices. For the rest, mobile is still the more preferred way to browse.

But desktop still rules for transactions

While many customers prefer mobile devices for browsing, they still stick to desktops and laptops to make their actual purchases. Just over 73% of purchases among the top 10 retailers were made on desktops. Apple.com received the least amount of mobile traffic, so not surprisingly, they had the fewest number of mobile purchases.

A lot can change in a year, but looking towards the past is usually a good predictor of the future. Amazon’s success is well-documented, but Shutterfly’s higher conversion rate means there is still room for other brands to succeed. Also, companies should analyze why customers are browsing on mobile, but holding off on purchases until they have desktop access, to ensure they’re not losing shoppers in the process.

Check out the Post Holiday Wrap-Up Webinar to learn additional insights into consumers’ year-end shopping behaviors.