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5 eCommerce Trends for the 2013 Holidays

Written by: Laurie Cutts, Director of Marketing

Thanksgiving is here and retailers are in full holiday mode. Industry analysts have released a profusion of holiday retail ecommerce focused research, with undoubtedly more on the way. In this post we’ll highlight some key points around what looks to be an optimistic holiday spending season.

1. eCommerce Sales will Grow By 15%.

eMarketer is reporting strong eCommerce sales growth this holiday season.  They are expecting sales will reach 68 billion in November and December. This is up 15.1% from last year. It’s also the fifth year of holiday sales growth in the mid-teens or higher. And it’s consistent with last year’s growth – 15.2%. Overall, November and December, will make up a quarter of the year’s online sales.


2. 16% of U.S. eCommerce sales will come from mobile.

eMarketer forecasts a 68% increase in sales this year via smartphones and tablets. This makes up 16% of all retail ecommerce sales and mobile’s share will continue to grow through 2017.

mobile commerce

Tablets are driving a significant amount of growth in mCommerce sales.  63% of sales are coming from tablets compared to 35% from smartphones.  Tablets share of sales will continue to grow to 72% by 2017.

The data shows that holiday shopping is taking place on multiple devices so online retailers need to consider both desktop and mobile when planning their holiday ad campaigns.

3. Google and Facebook are the top destinations for online ad spend.

Advertisers are focusing on two major players based on eMarketer’s latest estimates of global digital ad revenues.  Google will take in nearly half of all net U.S. mobile internet ad revenues this year and Facebook is also well ahead of other players in the space.

global ad spend Facebook

4. Shopping and promotions will start early.

There are additional reasons this year for retailers to kick off the holiday season early.  There are fewer shopping days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the peak holiday shopping period.  Last year buyers and sellers had 31 days of shopping compared to this year which is only 25 days.

This gives people only four shopping weekends instead of five.

A noted trend from last year was significant increase in online buying on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  Brands are advertising more promotions on the holidays and not just the usual days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


5. Holiday shoppers value promotions.

Holiday shoppers value promotions this time of year, putting pressure on online retailers to balance making offers against generating profits.  According to a survey, retailers cited free shipping as the most successful online holiday promotional offer in 2012 (42%).  31% said coupons and 23% said limited time offers worked well in 2012.  Close to half of all retailers expect to increase free shipping offers without conditions in 2013.

holiday promotions

Five-trends—ecommerce growth, mobile sales, early shopping, Google and Facebook, free shipping and promotions will have an impact on holiday revenues this year. By taking advantage of the industry indicators, you’ll be in the best possible position to make 2013 your best holiday season ever.

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