We just welcomed spring (and in some places still haven’t thawed out yet) and market researchers are already thinking about the Q4 holiday season.
Growth will slow slightly from last year’s record-setting levels, but still remain solid.
According to eMarketer’s latest predictions, US holiday eCommerce sales will expand at a 15.3% rate this year. That falls short of 2017 record growth levels when retail eCommerce sales soared 17.8% in November and December. But the new year-over-year prediction for 2018 is an increase from 2016 when eCommerce grew 13.9%.
And mobile will continue to be a driving force for eCommerce growth. US retail m-commerce sales were up more than 40% in Q4 2017, according to ComScore. eMarketer expects total US retail m-commerce sales will grow a further 32.7% in 2018.
Overall, eMarketer expects total retail sales in the US to rise 3.8% during this year’s holiday season, a slower pace than 2017’s 5.5% gain.
But eMarketer remains positive about spending during the 2018 holiday. The researcher claims that with high consumer confidence, low unemployment, and rising wages, the immediate outlook for consumer spending remains solid.
Mobile will continue to lead online shopping, but there a few other trends that online retailers should be planning for now.
Less Focus on Black Friday
The entire season from Black Friday to right before Christmas has given way to new shopping days including Giving Tuesday, Free Shipping Day, and Travel Tuesday. Cyber Monday continues to be the biggest, online shopping day, but retailers need to focus on the entire period rather than counting on one or two days to drive the bulk of sales.
More Mini Shipping Days
About 70 percent of shoppers said they bought themselves a gift or two in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation. Online retailers are beginning to exploit this under-recognized trend. Expect that In 2018, some online retailers will promote a holiday called Treat Yourself Tuesday.
The Power of Voice
Voice-powered shopping is here. With Alexa, Siri and Google Home gaining in popularity, consumers are turning to these voice-powered devices for shopping. ManySome industry watchers are calling voice the fourth sales channel. In 2018, online retailers need to be ready for holiday shoppers with smart suggestions to enable voice.
The Season Will Start Even Earlier
Despite some consumer backlash, except that the 2018 holiday shopping season will start even earlier. Fueled by fierce competition, online retailers will be looking to get a jump on holiday selling and some begin launching marketing efforts in August.