2013 Christmas cyber shopping trends

The Rakuten Affiliate Network has seen Christmas sales increase by 49% in 2012 and 2013. Its data highlights both fresh insights into the Cyber Monday sales boom and the appetite for tablet shopping and cash back deals in the UK.

The largest sales peak over the Christmas period occurs on Cyber Monday, with sales increasing by 72.6% year over year in 2013. Black Friday also continues to increasingly drive sales for retailers, with the network seeing a 134.4% growth in sales.

Typically, shopping peaks on Cyber Monday and Black Friday during the evening hours between 6pm and 9pm, with around a quarter (26% and 23%) of sales taking place between these hours on these days. However as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been increasingly well-marketed, shoppers are also purchasing early in the morning on these days, even getting up to shop online.

In fact, 15% of sales on Black Friday took place prior to 9am. Aside from Cyber Monday, the largest sales peak (between 28th November and 3rd December 2013) happens 3 hours before Cyber Monday on the previous night, and this day is also the peak across the whole Christmas shopping period for conversions from retargeting. If consumers find a compelling offer or attractive product they will still buy without waiting for Cyber Monday itself.

Sales peaks also occur on the Royal Mail’s last delivery date and Boxing Day, when shoppers are already tapping into the Christmas sales during the bank holiday. Mid Cyber Monday, the second Monday in December, was also observed as a new trend for 2013, and on this day the UK saw higher sales than on Black Friday.

Sumitra Joy, head of analytics at Rakuten Marketing comments: “Marketers need to be making their brand visible on these days, as well as the days following and leading up to them, to be in the game this Christmas. Brands should harness detailed shopping insights to target their customers with the right campaigns, and by understanding the most popular dates, times, as well as products and devices, retailers can create targeted content to stand out at this very competitive time of year.”

For Black Friday and Cyber Monday desktop sales dominate, driving over 75% of the sales, suggesting that the “blow out” quick promotions offered on these retail days are easier to purchase on a desktop, rather than a mobile device. However, across all product sectors and throughout the Christmas period, tablets show the highest conversion rate, at 6.0% for 2013 and 5.7% for 2012.

Although smartphone shows the lowest conversion rate; it has increased by over a third from 1.0% in 2012 to 1.6% in 2013, highlighting a growing appetite for on-the-go shopping.

Loyalty and cash back sites see the highest conversion rates across the Christmas period driving 25.9% of sales. Retargeting after basket abandonment also creates 17.1% of conversions.

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