New Social Analytics Ecommerce Study Reveals Surprising Holiday Sales Trend

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Online Shoppers Order More Items but Spend Less Money Closer to Christmas

Social Analytics Ecommerce Holiday Sales Trends

Social Analytics Ecommerce Holiday Sales Trends

We were surprised by the significant change in how much is spent per-order over the season

The 2011 holiday sales season is over, but planning ahead will help online merchants gear up for 2012. A new report from social analytics ecommerce platform MerchantTribe.com reveals a surprising holiday sales takeaway for web merchants: Shoppers place more orders per-day as the holiday season moves forward but average order size drops steadily after Thanksgiving.

The data was collected from online stores using MerchantTribe shopping cart software. The merchants represent a broad horizontal cross-section of B2C stores and sell items including sporting goods, books, software, clothing and electronics. The report analyzed data collected between November 24th 2011 and December 24th 2011.

“We were surprised by the significant change in how much is spent per-order over the season,” said Marcus McConnell, founder of MerchantTribe. “That seemed to defy the conventional wisdom that shoppers are as influenced by price at the beginning of the season than at the end. Perhaps shoppers purchase gifts for more important recipients first. Or maybe they wait for harder to shop for friends and family members and they’ve exhausted their budgets. Either way, they become more cost conscious the closer to Christmas they shop.”

McConnell suggests that to entice budget-conscious shoppers later in the season, merchants should try bundling items, offering discounted shipping on minimum order sizes and creating low-cost last-minute gift categories. And since conversion rates improve as Christmas approaches, it seems that shoppers are not doing as much comparison. So merchants can raise shipping rates slightly to compensate for smaller order totals.

Additional findings of the report were as follows:

1.    Customers placed more online orders as the season progressed, peaking on December 20.
2.    Merchants made the highest amount of revenue per day shortly after Thanksgiving.
3.    Customers spent significantly more per online order at the beginning of the season than at the end.
4.    Conversion rates rose throughout the season, but dropped off around December 20.

MerchantTribe is a free, open-source ecommerce platform that collectively analyzes data from stores and identifies trends. Merchants that share data receive advice about how to help their stores sell more online.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Marcus McConnell, please call 804-476-0030 or e-mail Marcus(at)merchanttribe(dot)com.

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Marcus Mcconnell
BV Software
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