E-commerce challenges benefitted large retailers during 2023 holiday season

Zach Russell headshot
Holiday shopping
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers surveyed chose to purchase holiday items from Amazon due to the availability of items.

New data identifies three challenges that impacted shoppers during the 2023 holiday season.

Out-of-stock items, lack of sales and deals and slow shipping speeds impacted consumers the most, according to the latest consumer survey from e-commerce company Radial. Radial noted these top challenges on top of high inflation that continued to impact shoppers during the holiday season last year.

“Out-of-stock” items was the top holiday shopping challenge for 68% of consumers surveyed by Radial. In addition, nearly half (44%) of shoppers said they simply did not order items that would not arrive by a specific date in 2023.

Lack of inventory led to consumers opting for larger retailers to complete their shopping last year. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers surveyed chose to purchase holiday items from Amazon due to the availability of items, and almost half (47%) chose to purchase holiday items from Walmart or Target for the same reason. 

Retailers have also implemented customer-facing inventory availability tools on their e-commerce sites that have resonated with customers. Radial found that 31% of consumers found inventory quantity indicators helpful during their 2023 shopping.

Another challenge during the 2023 holiday season was lack of deals, which coincided with continued inflation. Two-thirds (66%) of shoppers cited “lack of deals and sales” as another one of their top holiday shopping frustrations in 2023. 

As a result, consumers were more likely to shop with big-box stores, with more than half of respondents opting to shop at Amazon, Walmart, or Target due to the affordability of items. Given the lack of consistent deals, consumers flocked to Black Friday and Cyber Week sales to get lower prices on gifts.

Finally, shipping speeds were also a challenge for consumers last year. Nearly six-in-10 (57%) of shoppers cited “show shipping speeds” as one of their top holiday headaches. Another 51% of shoppers cited “late or delayed orders” as a top challenge. Two-thirds (66%) of shoppers rated communication from retailers regarding order status and potential delays during the holiday season as “clear” or “very clear.”

Amazon’s Prime Shipping speeds put even more pressure on retailers to accelerate their shipping timelines. Two-thirds (66%) of consumers said they were more likely to shop with Amazon due to the two-day Prime Shipping.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds