Anew report by eMarketer predicts that e-commerce sales may jump by over 16% this year. The report credits growth in mobile sales along with intensifying competition between large retailers and marketplaces for the increase. Mobile commerce, particularly via smartphones, has been a powerful force all year, with eMarketer predicting that mobile commerce will have risen by 58% by year’s end, compared to 2016.
Growth in total retail sales is expected to be moderate at 3%, driven by strong consumer confidence, low unemployment, and a solidly performing economy. More notable may be e-commerce’s share of total retail sales which is predicted to reach a record rate of 11.5%.
The holiday season also continues to lengthen, although in interesting ways. Nearly a third of holiday shoppers told eMarketer that they started their shopping in October or even earlier last year, although e-commerce purchases tend to peak in November and December. At the other end are those shoppers who wait for the full-tilt holiday season—and sales—to kick in. According to CPC Strategy, 35.5% of consumers plan to start shopping for gifts before Thanksgiving, while a full 32% plan to wait until December.
Transparent return policies and customer reviews (see our blog on this topic)
Yes, as always, consumers want convenience—something subscription businesses are well positioned to provide!
How well merchants meet consumers’ needs directly impacts their purchase decisions. According to the NRF survey, 90% of respondents admitted that some positive aspect of their shopping experience convinced them to make purchases that they were otherwise unsure of. A majority (64%) cite free shipping as the key to their purchase, while half cited limited-time sales or promotions.
Because at the end of the day, retailers are fighting for their share of the holiday-spending pie. According to Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group, "[This holiday season] is really about stealing share.… If there’s going to be any growth, it’s going to come at the expense of somebody else."
So plan ahead, know what consumers want most, and figure out how to best meet their needs—to ensure that you come out ahead of your competition this holiday season.