4 Key Takeaways from the 2014 Holiday Shopping Season

Back in December, Heather Hazen published a great post recapping Cyber Monday sales, recommending tips for success. A few of these tips included budgetary considerations, Google Merchant Center promotions, and website maintenance.

A recent report from Custora affirms Heather in her Cyber Monday discussion, especially in her mention of an estimated 17% increase in 2014 holiday shopping revenue over 2013. Average order value increased nearly an entire percent, with transactions increasing nearly 15%.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday were the top two 2014 holiday shopping days, though they were not the only days that observed incredible success. Cyber Tuesday was the third largest shopping day, with “Green Monday” (December 8th – Free Shipping Monday) and “Silver Monday” (December 15th) experiencing gains over 2013. With these days being so lucrative, it reflects the trend of more people purchasing later in the season.

For Black Friday, about 30% of online shopping was executed via mobile device. Mobile also accounted for 35% of Thanksgiving Day transactions. Smartphone use beat tablet use by an average of 2.5%, with Apple devices being used by 4 out of 5 customers.

About 30% of online transactions came from organic and paid search, 30% came from combined affiliate and email marketing, and 25% came from direct traffic. Social media advertising proved to be ineffective for its cost, bringing in about 2% of all orders. However, it does leave A LOT of room for improvement in 2015.

Overall, these are the top 4 things we should take away from the 2014 holiday shopping season:

  • Shipping Discounts: On days where free shipping and shipping discounts were offered, these promotions attracted significant percentage increases in e-Commerce revenue.
  • Late Promotions: Because customers seem to be buying later in the season, don’t be afraid to push a few promotions last minute.
  • Go Mobile: While the popularity of Apple iPhones and iPads should be noted for iOS targeting, mobile advertising is bigger picture and development of shopping applications should be on the forefront of e-tailers’ minds.
  • Be More Social: With such little success being found in terms of e-Commerce social advertising, it may or may not seem worth it to allocate any spend in 2015. However, with the growth of native advertising practices within social channels, you may be able to direct traffic to your site and generate increased promotional sharing. It probably shouldn’t be the biggest focus of your holiday campaign targeting strategy, but capitalizing on the low competition may prove opportunistic.

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