Time to Get Ready: Here Comes the 2018 Buying Season

Autumn is the time of year that a lot of predictions are made. From which teams will win their respective pennant race and which team will hoist the College Playoff National Championship Trophy in January, to the results of the fast-approaching Mid-Term Elections, predictions abound when the leaves start to turn.

Instead of making predictions about sporting outcomes or political results, we here at Global Payments Integrated thought we would look at what the experts reported about previous holiday shopping seasons and provide you with a preview of the busiest shopping season of the year.

Through the analyzing of billions of shopping visits over the past few years, Caila Schawartz, a senior industry strategist at Salesforce Commerce Cloud, has come up with three key points that will likely shape the 2018 holiday shopping season.

Shoppers Will Again Buy Early, But Buyer Fatigue is Real

In years past, Cyber Monday held the title as the digital shopping day of the holiday season. Today’s shopper has access to terrific internet connections, and mobile phones provides access to the internet from literally anywhere. Together, these advancements helped rewrite the anatomy of the shopping season.

For the second consecutive year, Black Friday was the biggest digital shopping day of the season, with revenue growing 32 percent year-over-year, more than doubling Cyber Monday’s 15 percent increase. Shoppers did complete their purchases earlier, as we saw with the 31 percent year-over-year growth on Thanksgiving Day. All told, revenue was up 33 percent from Thanksgiving through Cyber Sunday as shoppers bought on their terms, when and where they wished. Once Monday passed, we saw the negative consequence of this shopping holiday: buyer fatigue.

While Cyber Week soared, the weeks immediately following Cyber Week did not, as breathless shoppers slowed their purchasing. Retailers take note, if you’re not early, you’re too late; look for a big Cyber Week again in 2018, followed by a quieter period.

More and More Shoppers Will Go Mobile-Only

Traffic and orders from mobile devices hit record highs at the end of 2017. During the holiday shopping season, mobile activity peaked on days not typically known for shopping. Thanksgiving marked the first time that computer order share dropped below 50 percent. And then the big moment: On Christmas Day, mobile order share rose to 50 percent, marking the first time ever that mobile devices accounted for the majority of all purchases made. These mobile milestones will give rise to another year dominated by mobile as more and more shoppers will choose mobile-only for browsing and buying.

Computers and tablets saw either flat or declining growth in both key performance indicators, while mobile enjoyed a staggering 43 percent growth in orders and 25 percent growth in traffic. Shoppers are turning to mobile as their preferred device.

Personalization Will Break Through the Box

Even during a time best known for gifting, personalization (tailoring a company’s web marketing to an individual’s online characteristics and behaviors) had a massive impact on the holiday shopping season. While only 5 percent of cyber week shoppers clicked or tapped on a product recommendation, those shoppers accounted for 30 percent of the week’s revenue.

Personalization is proving to be a shopper’s trusted advisor and a retailer’s greatest tool for connecting customer to product. Yet, most retailers still relegate personalization — this mega-productive targeting tool — to the bottom of the product detail page. That will change this year, as the effectiveness of personalization will finally persuade retailers to inject intelligence into moments across the entire journey. Retailers will break the box and pull personalization into more impactful areas like category pages, site search results and even just-for-you landing pages.

What Did We Learn?

The last quarter of 2017 taught us that today’s modern shoppers are going to make their own rules, choosing to go mobile and rewarding retailers that infuse personalization into the shopper journey. If you market your products or services online, there are lessons to be learned about the way today’s consumers research and buy. Use these tips to your advantage to drive a significant holiday sales increase for your business.

Jon Christofferson

Digital Communications Specialist

Jon Christoffersen is a Digital Communications Specialist and has been with Global Payments Integrated since 2013. Jon has been in marketing and communications since 1998 working for various companies within the hospitality and tourism industry. Jon is a journalist by trade and served numerous years in the U.S. Army where he developed and managed public relations campaigns.

Jon Christoffersen author bio