Online Takes the Cake For Final 2013 Holiday Shopping Push
Christmas is just under a week away, folks! For those of us on our gifting A-game, it’s time to wrap, ribbon, hang, bow and box all of the wonderful things we so purposefully purchased for our loved ones in advance. And then there are the last-minute shoppers of the world, the well-meaning procrastinators for which the next six days would be appropriately labeled “crunch time”. As recently as December 9, about 32 million consumers had not even started their holiday shopping, and a brave 10% of shoppers say they won’t begin the hunt for gifts until Christmas Eve— talk about living life on the edge! To help out these shoppers, retailers are keeping physical stores open longer and heavily pushing online promotions and deals until the very end. After a few recent surveys from Prosper Insights & Analytics, the trend seems to be that late shoppers are sticking mainly to e-commerce and online outlets to help pull them through these last few days of hectic holiday shopping. An estimated 50% of shopping will be done on Super Saturday, the Saturday that fall before Christmas, so now you know what your procrastinator friends will be doing this weekend! According to the recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, almost half of holiday shoppers anticipate crossing off the rest of their gift list by going online, a record-breaking statistic in the history of the survey. This year’s shorter shopping season has thrown a wrench in the normally well-oiled holiday retail machine. Online sales are anticipated to shoot past the previously predicted 20% growth, while physical stores are struggling. While some blame the inclement weather in the northeast, others say a lack of in-store buzz and excitement has caused this slight drop in brick-and-mortar popularity with shoppers this holiday season. “What about shipping?” you might ask. This past Wednesday was Free Shipping Day, in which more than 750 retailers participated to offer delivery of online orders by Christmas Eve. Major players such as Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney and REI are among the retailers that promoted this time-sensitive deal. Now that Wednesday has come and gone, online shoppers will need to pay to have their packages delivered before Christmas. The Monday before Christmas is expected to be the busiest day of the year for USPS, projecting that about 607 million pieces of mail will be processed. An anticipated 420 million packages will be delivered during the holiday season – a 12% boost from last year! What do you think about the move from in-store shopping to online? Have you done most of your shopping online this holiday period? We’d be interested to know how you’ve approached the last few weeks of the 2013 shopping season, so let us know your thoughts and experiences!