Strong Holiday Retail Sales Coming from Strong Economic News in 2018
BFCM last year was a record-breaker. This year promised to be even bigger. There was a ton of great economics news leading in the shopping season. So there is a firm foundation underneath the reported sales results. The main economic drivers were:
- Low Unemployment Rate in the US – no matter how you slice it, the US is still the biggest consumer market for the holidays. For various reasons – including higher business confidence and reduced regulations – hiring has been strong. More people with jobs means more spending during the holidays.
- Lowered US tax rates – It’s still controversial in some circles, but lower tax rates put more cash in consumers’ pockets.
- Surprise Reduction in energy costs – Back in September, oil prices were spiking up. But oil and gas prices dropped more than 20% in late October and early November – just in time for holiday shopping.
There are other economic forces at work too. But the point is that this is what economists call “structural” support. It’s not a fluke of blip … it’s basic, nuts-and-bolts consumers spending real money. And we think that it’s going to continue all the way through the first week of January. When the final numbers are in, this could be the biggest Christmas/Holiday season ever for retail – both online and in physical locations.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday By the Numbers for 2018 – a BFCM eCommerce Report
Let’s jump in with some real statistics.
From Atlantic to Pacific, the Traffic was Terrific
- The total online spend for the five days – November 22ndthrough November 26th– was $24.2 billion. This represents a 23% increase over the same five days last year.
- Importantly, $10.1 billion of that – 41.7% – happened on mobile devices, more than ¾ of that on smartphones. This is a 44% increase over last year.
- More than half – 44.3% – of ALL retail traffic came from mobile devices.
- That’s $201.7 million every minute … $3.4 million every second.
- Online sales on Thanksgiving Day 2018 jumped to $3.7 billion – nearly 28% over last year.
- Cyber Monday 2018 was the largest eCommerce Day in History so far with $7.9 billion in sales.
- Online sales for Black Friday was the second-best day for online shopping, clocking in at $6.2 billion.
If you noticed that the internet was running a bit slower over the weekend, now you know why.
Another trend is sparking some interest – buy online/pick-up in store. This hybrid, cross-channel retail experience model was still small, but it was up 65% over last year. It’s something to keep an eye on.
BFCM Sales in the Shopify Ecosystem
Shopify is reporting number in alignment with the rest of the industry. According to their recent post (linked below), Shopify merchants accounted for just over $1.5 billion in total sales for the four days – Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Interestingly, they did not report on Thanksgiving Day sales, which has to be a simple oversight on their part.
But thought of another way, This indicates that Shopify stores racked up approximately 6.2% of all BFCM eCommerce sales. That’s pretty impressive. I wonder how much higher that number would be if Shopify had included Thanksgiving Day stats in their estimates.
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing – Traffic Sources
If you want to be successful in eCommerce during the holidays, focus on the statistics here showing where the traffic came from that resulted in actual sales:
- Direct to site navigation – 25.9%
- Email referring – 25.9%
- Paid search – 21.6%
- Social media – 1.3%
Read all of those statistics again. Yes, advertising works. But the real takeaway – the thing every retailer needs to see right now – is that customers targeted or responded to online merchants that they knew about already. Random search was the smallest part. SEO and most advertising builds sales during the year, but the real value is establishing the relationship with the customer in order to capitalize on that relationship now.
Shopify’s traffic source stats are roughly in alignment with industry trends. But they do us a great service by adding conversion rates to their traffic sources. According to Shopify, inbound traffic to Shopify sites converted at the following ratios:
- Email – 4.38%
- Direct to site navigation – 4.35%
- Search (all types) – 3.60%
- Social – 2.0%
We cannot stress this enough. When do you start building your email list and your retargeting strategy for BFCM 2019? Right now. Seriously …. right freaking now.
The TaskHusky BFCM Customer Promo
As many of you know, we ran a promotion on our blog with email and ad support to promote BFCM sales for our customers this year. It was the first year we've done it, and it was a big success. Here are the results:
- 93 TaskHusky merchants participated
- 2,400+ Social Media Engagements
- 16,000+ Views
- 329 Registrations for our $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway
Keep your eyes peeled. With all the positive feedback from our community, we will look for an opportunity to do it again.
More Sales to Be Had This Holiday Season 2018
Remember, Thanksgiving came as early in the month as physically possible this year. There are several extra shopping days before Christmas this year, so your sales may be spread out a bit more than normal.
If you need any additional development or marketing help to keep the energy going, get a task started ASAP. The huge volume is keeping our project queue full, but there’s room for you.
Thanks for reading! Good luck and happy retailing!
Links and Resources
Adobe Digital Insights and Adobe Analytics have been cited by dozens of sources to report and confirm these statistics, so props to them.
“Online Sales Up 23% YoY This Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend,” as reported in CMO.com, Giselle Abramovich, November 27th, 2018
Practical eCommerce, “Sales Report: 2018 Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday”
“Black Friday pulled in a record $6.22 billion in online sales:” by CNBC
Shopify Reports $1.5 billion in BFCM sales: