Many of you in Europe and throughout the world* took part in our survey about preparing your online store for the holiday season. We made a promise and we're keeping it! We have assessed the impact on your business and habits during that crucial peak sales time, the Christmas Holiday period. Find out about the 2015-2016 e-commerce trends and outlook.
2015 Report – Christmas Holiday period significant, but less so than last year with sales smoothed out over the year.
The Christmas Holiday period is crucial for e-merchants. This year, 29% of e-merchants surveyed estimate that the Christmas Holiday period represents between 10 and 25% of their revenue. 15% estimate that it represents more than 25%. However, and this is a significant figure, more than half (57%) estimate that it represents less than 10% of their revenue. The Christmas Holiday share of revenue is thus decreasing, and e-merchants are managing to smooth their revenue more successfully over the year. The reason for that is the increase in promotional periods throughout the year: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, sales, Valentine's Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. See our e-commerce calendar.
Outlook for the 2016 season
The good news is that e-merchants are quite optimistic about their prospective sales this year: 72% estimate that their revenue will be higher than last year in Europe. Recruitment – 14% of online stores are planning to hire staff specifically for the holiday period. That is a good sign and can be correlated with the results of e-merchants for whom the holiday period represents more than 10% of their revenue (15% in total). For those recruiting for the holiday period, the most sought-after profiles are mainly for staff to deal with taking orders and returned packages (28%). These are followed by e-mail and social media marketers (20%) and web developers (18%).
Christmas Holiday preparations
76% of European e-merchants state that they prepare their online store for the Christmas Holiday period. 90% of them do so 1 to 3 months in advance. So e-merchants decide on their main action plan for the Christmas Holidays in October. What are their 3 main objectives for this period? 1/ Preparing their online store – festive design, adding product pages, promotional offers, etc., all of which explain the importance of recruiting web designers and developers. 2/ Preparing targeted promotional e-mail campaigns to boost the number of orders and the average cart size. 3/ An optimum inventory level, neither too big nor too small, but one that strikes a happy medium to avoid being left with unsold stock after the holiday period, and to avoid having inventory shortages that result in the immediate loss of a sale.
The mobile share of Christmas Holiday e-commerce revenue
For e-merchants in a position to state this (78% of respondents), the share of revenue made via mobile devices over the holiday period is 17% on average. However, almost 22% of respondents had no idea about the volume of mobile sales in their revenue. From that we can conclude that there is still a considerable amount of room for optimizing e-commerce websites for mobile devices. Simple methods for assessing the volume of revenue from mobile devices can be set up via Google Analytics. This enables e-merchants to identify the most effective mobile platforms for their e-commerce.
The importance of social media in an e-commerce marketing strategy
Social media is considered to be important in the e-merchant's marketing strategy in Poland: 57% consider it crucial in communications during the Christmas period, and 35% consider it to be quite important. * Sample of those surveyed: 1,305 e-merchants active in Europe and 1,898 throughout the world.