Holiday Shopping Online: Trends & Statistics 2017-2018 [Infographic]

Holiday Shopping Online: Trends & Statistics 2017-2018 [Infographic]

Let’s cut to the chase …

According to Adobe Digital Insights, of the $107.4 billion projected in holiday online shopping for 2017, $57 billion will take place after Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

With November raking in 22 consecutive billion-dollar days, and BFCM breaking all previous records, that’s good news for ecommerce organizations looking to close out 2017 as their most profitable year ever. And, it’s even better news for anyone still troubleshooting the ecommerce holidays.

Total holiday online shopping sales projected for 2017

2017 has also been a banner year for Shopify merchants with …

  • Over $1 billion in BFCM sales
  • Peak orders per minute of 10,149
  • And $1.1 million sold in a single minute

Shopify's 2017 holiday online shopping big picture

For a detailed look at the strategies behind that data, check out 10 Breakthrough Lessons from Over $1 Billion in Black Friday Ecommerce & Cyber Monday Sales

The trouble is all those big numbers can feel overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve decided to not just compile all the data from 2017’s holiday online shopping, but to pull out must-follow insights for this year and into 2018.

To jump to the full infographic, click here. Now, onto the insights …

Billions are still to be had …

Whether you had a record-breaking Black Friday, Cyber Monday or not, now is the time to make sure the rest of your holiday season is your most profitable ever.

To help you do that, we’ve created the Black Friday, Cyber Monday Health Check.

Inside, you’ll find a detailed checklist to guide you through the rest of December and beyond.

Download your holiday guide today

Mobile Takes Over Holiday Online Shopping

It was just one year ago that mobile’s dominance over desktop solidified itself online. At least, when it came to usage.

Since then, the question haunting ecommerce was, “Mobile traffic is nice. But how do we close the conversion gap and sell on mobile?”

Worldwide, BFCM this year was no different. Total revenue was up on mobile — reaching a cumulative $11.2 billion over November 1-27 — but the breakdown in traffic and sales continued.

While 46% of traffic came through a mobile device, only 30% of sales closed there:

Mobile takes over holiday online shopping

The exception was Shopify.

Where desktop still outperforms mobile on sales worldwide, for Shopify merchants … the numbers were nearly reversed: 64% of sales during Cyber Monday and 59.6% of all BFCM sales took place on a mobile device.

Mobile orders through Shopify during Black Friday, Cyber Monday

The dominance of mobile — and particularly the disparity between worldwide data and Shopify’s own — reveals one insight vital for ecommerce the whole year round: responsive isn’t enough.

Displaying beautifully across all screen sizes is a good start. But today, that’s table stakes. Having a responsive online storefront is the equivalent of a cover charge; you have to pay to get into the party, but getting in doesn’t mean you’ll be the star.

What matters is optimizing your site for a mobile-first world.

Mike Mallazzo’s recent article, “How to Create Personalized Experiences for Unknown Black Friday, Cyber Monday Mobile Visitors,” offers a host of ways Dynamic Yield is doing that. His first is also the most popular — page curl notification with personalized promotion:

And their use case illustrates exactly why this mobile-based personalization is such a game changer:

“Consider that for a large outdoor retailer, Dynamic Yield data from Black Friday last year shows that iOS users spent about $110 on average while Android shoppers had an AOV of around $85. Thus, why not display a 20% off orders more than $100 for Android users to try and push them to increase the value of their baskets? For iOS users, the standard 20% promotion could apply to a more expensive category of items or those with particularly high margins.”

Moving into 2018 also demands making mobile payments as simple and intuitive as possible.

By way of example, take youth-fashion retailer Urban Planet. Urban Planet, along with its parent company YM’s roster of brands, integrates a host of mobile-optimized payment methods into its checkout:

  • PayPal to let customers place orders instantly using their third-party information
  • Traditional credit cards for returning customers with Urban Planet accounts
  • And Shopify Pay for a one-screen checkout through two-factor authentication

Email Still Converts Best for Holiday Online Shopping

Despite its long-heralded death, email ruled this BFCM.

In addition to a jaw-dropping 8.8 billion data points collected during Black Friday alone in the form of email signups and a host of other lead-generation tactics, roughly 3 billion emails were sent.

Email still converts best during online holiday shopping

What’s even more striking, however, were the results. Across Shopify’s 500,000 merchants, email led the pack in conversion rate by referral source:

  • Email 4.29%
  • Search 3.04%
  • Direct 2.93%
  • Social 1.81%

According to data compiled by Klayvio, email drives 27% of all BFCM online sales.

Shopify's Black Friday, Cyber Monday conversion rates by source

Unfortunately, for 64% of retailers, shoppers acquired during BFCM have a lower lifetime value (LTV) than shoppers acquired at any other time of the year. To survive one-and-done customers, post-holiday online shopping strategies need to be built around loyalty-driving lifecycle emails.

Thankfully, Charlie Casey, co-founder and CEO of LoyaltyLion, outlines nine email strategies to move your holiday buyers from one-time customer to repeat customer, and from at-risk customer to loyal customer.

As Casey puts it:

“At LoyaltyLion, we recommend having a post-BFCM loyalty strategy in place before committing your acquisition spend. Only once both are in place will you see the full benefit of BFCM.”

What applies to the holiday season applies equally beyond it. Email shows no signs of slowing down as a revenue driver … as long as you invest in segmentation, personalization, and crafting emails your customers actually want to spend time with.

Online Holiday Shopping Goes Global

BFCM is now a worldwide phenomenon. Internationally, GMV increased by 17%, and 20.9% of all BFCM sales through Shopify came from 10 countries outside the United States.

Holidays go global during online shopping over Black Friday, Cyber Monday

A breakdown of nine of those countries reveals just how explosive online holiday shopping is becoming:

Holiday online shopping's worldwide growth

All told, Shopify merchants sent BFCM purchases 12.6 billion miles:

Of course, the truth is that global ecommerce isn’t just the present and future of holiday online shopping. It’s the present and future of commerce itself.

Data from Statista projects a 246.15% increase in worldwide ecommerce coming our way, from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021. Already, the ecommerce center of the world is shifting away from the West, with listing the 10 largest ecommerce markets in the world as …

  1. China: $672 billion
  2. United States: $340 billion
  3. United Kingdom: $99 billion
  4. Japan: $79 billion
  5. Germany: $73 billion
  6. France: $43 billion
  7. South Korea: $37 billion
  8. Canada: $30 billion
  9. Russia: $20 billion
  10. Brazil: $19 billion

Stacked up against the top 10 countries that generated the most BFCM sales on Shopify, here’s what the comparison looks like:

Top countries by sales during online holiday shopping

All this means two things …

First, merchants must deliver a fast online experience no matter where in the world their visitors are coming from. As research by Akamai and found, “79% of online shoppers said they would not return to a website to make another purchase” because of poor performance during their last visit.

Or, as Kissmetrics put it after crunching the numbers, “If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.”

Part of the reason Shopify merchants are growing in over 175 countries is the dual content delivery networks (CDNs) Shopify provides to ensure international ecommerce visitors are given the fastest possible experiences.

Second, merchants must deliver fast offline orders regardless of where their customers live. For most online retailers operating at scale, this means finding a global fulfillment partner. After walking through a checklist of benefits, costs, and questions to vet such a partner, Nathan Resnick, CEO of Sourcify, concludes:

“That moment when you feel like an international customer has the same experience as a domestic one is when your business will have crossed borders. This is when you’ll really be able to spark an international brand and create seamless customer relationships across the world.”

It’s a lofty goal, but one that the survival of your company may depend on.

Billions are still to be had …

Whether you had a record-breaking Black Friday, Cyber Monday or not, now is the time to make sure the rest of your holiday season is your most profitable ever.

To help you do that, we’ve created the Black Friday, Cyber Monday Health Check.

Inside, you’ll find a detailed checklist to guide you through the rest of December and beyond.

Download your holiday guide today

The Online Holiday Shopping Infographic

The overlaps between holiday online shopping and year-round ecommerce are striking. They can be summarized in just three words:

  1. Mobile
  2. Email
  3. Global

But just so you can keep those lessons close at hand as you move into 2018, we’ve put all the data and insights from this year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday into a single infographic.

Here’s to not waiting until next year’s holiday to put them into action …

Holiday Online Shopping Infographic

About the Author

Aaron Orendorff is the Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus as well as a regular contributor to sites like Mashable, Lifehacker, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fast Company, The Huffington Post and more. You can connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.