Online Holiday Shopping Beats Brick-and-Mortar For First Time in History
Just a couple of days into December, the 2015 holiday shopping season has already created several new retail milestones. Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday brought noteworthy sales results, but the significance of each day was vastly different.
For the first time in history, the popularity of online shopping surpassed brick-and-mortar retail.
Holiday Shopping Sales Reports
Retail research groups have been publishing their findings from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2015 shopping extravaganza.
The Popularity of Online Shopping is Undeniable
|Thanksgiving||Black Friday||Cyber Monday|
|Online sales||$1.7 billion||$2.7 billion||$3.07 billion|
|YoY comparison||25% ↑||14.3% ↑||16% ↑|
|Average spending per shopper||$162||$137||$133|
|Mobile, % of online sales||37%||33%||28%|
|Tablet, % of online sales||15%||13%||11%|
Holiday Weekend Shoppers Favored Online
|Total spending||$20.4 billion||$11 billion|
|YoY comparison||10% ↓||26% ↑|
|Shoppers||102 million||103 million|
Other noteworthy statistics:
- Brick-and-mortar Black Friday sales fell from $12.9 billion in 2014 to $12.1 billion in 2015.
- The 2015 average order value for online purchases was lower than 2014.
- 14% of sales were attributed to email promotions.
- 2015 Cyber Monday sales increased 16% from 2014, setting the record for a single day of online sales.
Short-Term Implications of Increased Online Sales
Increased online sales aren’t necessarily a cause for celebration. The more transactions a merchant processes, the higher the likelihood of chargebacks.
Transaction disputes associated with holiday shopping could result from all three types of chargeback triggers.
- Merchant Error: Processing errors, order fulfilment shortcomings, and sub-par customer service can increase the odds of chargebacks. All of these merchant errors are commonly associated with the high-volume transaction processing of the holiday shopping season.
- Criminal Fraud: The newly implemented EMV rollout has caused former brick-and-mortar criminals to look for new opportunities. With the increased number of sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, fraud detection and prevention efforts were probably overtaxed. This likely allowed criminals to slip through the cracks.
- Friendly Fraud: Once credit card statements start arriving, bearing evidence of the cardholder’s excessive and expensive purchases, buyer’s remorse will set in. Illegitimate chargebacks will be filed to minimize debt.
Long-Term Implications of Increased Online Sales
2015 will serve as a ground-breaking year for many reasons. Not only will the holiday season be remembered for the sheer number of sales, it will also be noted as the turning point for marketing techniques.
Consumers have made their preferences known, and merchants will take note. Marketing tactics have likely changed forever.
Even though customers prefer online shopping, merchants won’t try to replace brick-and-mortar sales. Rather, an all-encompassing, omni-channel approach to marketing and sales will appear.
The popularity of online shopping will create a promotional creep. Online deals can begin earlier than physical stores open. Brick-and-mortar establishments will try to stay competitive and begin offering their sales earlier too. What was once a one-day occasion will easily become a week-long event.
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