Online shopping in North America reportedly generated $122 billion in revenue for retailers over Christmas.
US data source, Internet Retailer has estimated that online sales in the states rose by an estimated 17.4 percent in November and December. Smartphone sales also saw a healthy boost over the festive season, representing 31 percent of total online purchases for the two-month period.
Adobe Analytics, however, believe online sales over Christmas were higher again, claiming the total was closer to $125.91 billion from November 1 to December 31. Based on Adobe’s estimates from 2017, the 2018 figure would represent 16.9 percent of total retail sales and a 15.2 percent boost in sales YOY. In earlier predictions, Adobe Analytics forecast total online sales in the US to hit $124 billion.
This comes as early estimates suggest that total retail revenue hit as much as $719.77 billion for the 2018 holiday season. This figure is significant considering Australia’s modest comparative e-commerce spend. The Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan said at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season that total spending in November and December would reach $51 billion, including hospitality spend. Comparison site, Finder.com.au on the other hand, released more refined projections, estimating a spend of $25 billion on retail spend and alcohol purchases. Honing in on the market, even more, Commbank said in early December that $10.7 billion of the total expenditure over Christmas would be on gifts alone.
While no set figures for Australia’s online shopping sector have been released, stronger-than-expected retail performance in November, thanks to online shopping events like Click Frenzy, suggest December could have been quieter than originally expected.
In the Australian Bureau of Statistics November retail turnover report, the government-funded firm said that retail sales over the month increased by 0.4 percent, up from 0.3 percent in October.
Ben Faulkner, the acting director of quarterly economy-wide surveys at the ABS noted that the highest performing shopping categories for the month, namely, clothing, footwear and personal accessories, benefitted from in-store and online sales during November.
“These industries were impacted by strong promotional activity in the November month, including Black Friday sales,” he said.
Overall, online sales contributed to 6.6 percent of total retail revenue in November 2018, up from 5.5 percent in November 2017, and from 5.9 percent in the previous month. This represents the highest ever-recorded level in the series by the ABS. The bureau also noted that strong online performance in November continues to be a pattern within the industry, as consumers are actively looking to grab a bargain long before December’s all-important shopping period begins.
Meanwhile, in-store foot traffic over December was reportedly lower than usual, while online stores seem to have peaked earlier in the month, with sales slowing as Christmas drew closer.
According to data from Citi Research and ShopperTrak, foot traffic was down by roughly eight to nine percent between Black Friday and Boxing Day.
“Shoppers continued to shift December shopping trips online”, Citi Research said. The research firm says this decline is a direct result of consumers shopping during notable online events like Click Frenzy and Black Friday, which both take place in November.
“We estimate overall foot traffic into stores from Black Friday to Boxing Day 2018 was down around nine percent on this measure, a deceleration from the same periods in 2016 and 2017.”