In Consumer Insights

Once the turkey has been eaten, the family time shared, and the football games have been watched; the holiday shopping season begins. A flurry of trips to different stores, presents to be bought, sales to be compared. The possibilities (and stressors) are endless! Which begs the question: are people shifting their shopping online? Surely the lack of crowds, time commitment, and ease of access are attractive, but are they attractive enough?

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2018 vs. 2017 Shopping Season Showdown

With this question in mind, we turned to the data to find an answer. Leveraging the Verto Watch data, we looked at four of the largest online retailers and pitted their 2018 metrics against those from 2017 for the holiday shopping season (Thanksgiving to Christmas). At a topline view, we see that the Daily Reach of US Online Adults 18+ on these brands grew year over year. Amazon led the way with 10.5% growth, with Walmart, Target, and Ebay lagging behind at 6.7%, 5.9%, and 4.8% respectively. It’s great to see that more people are visiting these brands, but it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.

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When we shift the view over to Time Spent per User, we see that only Walmart had year over year growth (6%), whereas Amazon and Ebay had double digit declines when averaged across the entire shopping season (-13.9% and -19.4% respectively). Now, this isn’t all doom and gloom that people are engaging less with the properties. Yes, people may be more efficient in what they are shopping for, but it could also mean that they are pulling the trigger quicker as to not miss out on a deal.

When we narrow the window down to the weekend of Black Friday through Cyber Monday, we see double digit growth across the board in terms of Daily Reach. Walmart leads with 31.3% year over year growth, followed by Target (25.6%), Amazon (22.5%), and Ebay (13.0%). It appears that Black Friday weekend deals drive traffic to stores, but also to the e-commerce shops. With this in mind, we took a step back to see the overall trend for the season. We saw the trends for Amazon and Ebay remain steady, while Walmart and Target declined as the season progressed. This could be an indication that people shopped earlier in the season to ensure they had their gifts in hand for their loved ones when the holiday came around.

So to answer the question that led us down this rabbit hole; yes, more people  shop online and earlier in the season. Whether it is to avoid the crowds, busy schedules, or great deals; people are leveraging their devices to virtually visit these stores to do their holiday shopping.

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