This year’s holiday shopping season was quite the rollercoaster and the recovery period has finally arrived! But can we put a tick mark in the “W” column for retail sales in the 2013 holidays, or did the shorter shopping window and tendency toward procrastination make for a less than impressive retail turnout? Online shopping gained momentum, but still left room for improvement among those that expected a bigger impact. Let’s take a look at some more takeaways from retail’s most recent holiday push! Black Friday Booms, Cyber Monday Soars In an earlier blog post, we reviewed 2013’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday turnout for retailers nationwide. According to comScore, the post-Thanksgiving/Cyber Week shopping resulted in the season’s heaviest spending, in line with shopping trends of previous years. Black Friday 2013 saw almost $2 billion in online sales, signifying a 15 percent increase over Black Friday sales in 2012. Retailers took a new approach to these sales, however, launching promotions and special “Black Friday” deals on Thanksgiving Day and extending into the next week. Procrastination Nation and Boosted Promotions The shortened shopping season seemed to throw off many shoppers’ internal gift-buying clocks – this year about 32 million consumers had not begun their holiday shopping as of December 9, and a whopping 10 percent claimed they would be waiting until Christmas Eve to finish checking people off of their to-buy lists. These late shoppers gave rise to longer store hours, free shipping and a major push on promotions as retailers did their best to prep consumers for the big spending they were anticipating all year long. Freebies with gift card purchases played a major role in retail promotions, and NRF predicted there would be a nearly $30 billion spent on gift cards during the holiday season – that’s a new record! Online Spending Grows, and M-Commerce Hits a New High To date, the 2013 holiday season has seen almost $43 billion spent online, showcasing a 10 percent increase over last year’s corresponding days. While that sounds like an incredible amount of growth, researchers noted that the spending didn’t meet their (clearly very high) expectations, but solid growth in retail commerce is a positive sign for next year and a nice counterbalance to the decline in shopping at physical malls. comScore predicted that mobile commerce would reach $7.1 billion for the holiday season, making up 13 percent of all digital commerce. Did you see any major retail trends crop up after this unusual holiday shopping season? Share your thoughts and opinions – we’d love to hear how the holiday season worked out for you!