Study: Online holiday sales exceed last year’s gains

Mobile usage and search trends contributed to record-high e-commerce sales for the 2017 holiday shopping season.

During the 2017 holiday shopping season, U.S. e-commerce sales increased 13% from the previous year. In 2016, e-commerce sales increased 10.43% from 2015, according to new analysis from NetElixir.

For most of the retail categories analyzed, mobile sales saw modest gains. The biggest m-commerce increase was 11% in the cosmetics category. The apparel category saw a 2% increase, and gifting saw a 3% life, but the electronics and food & gourmet categories saw a slight dip in sales (1%).

“This holiday season data shows overall positive growth,” said Udayan Bose, CEO of NetElixir. “Consumers are continuing to move to online shopping for their holiday purchases, and are also using their mobile devices more for purchasing in specific retail categories like cosmetics. With the mobile visit data trending in a steeper upward direction, we can expect that m-commerce figures will be higher next holiday season.”

Despite m-commerce’s modest gains, mobile visits rose sharply across most categories. The apparel category saw a dramatic increase of 32% for mobile visits. All other categories saw single digit increases for mobile visits, which indicates that shoppers were using mobile devices more for browsing and product research this holiday season than before.

According to the report’s search marketing trends, average order values (AOV) saw the biggest lift this year with an increase of 19.4%. Conversions increased by 15.6%, impressions increased by 12.8% and the average cost-per-click went up by 14.2%.

“The increase in average order values was significant this holiday season and retailers should be taking note of this figure in particular,” said Bose. “This dramatic increase implies that consumers are growing more comfortable making expensive purchases online. The overall positive trend of the other search marketing metrics indicate that digital marketing is growing in effectiveness, leading consumers to the brands and products they are interested to purchase.”

E-commerce sales volume also ranged by U.S. regions. The highest increase in the south with a 24.3% jump. The next highest was found in the west with a 12.7% increase. The central U.S. had a 12.2% jump, and the northeast had an 11.4% sales lift.