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Verizon: Consumers ring in New Year with e-commerce

Even as Christmas passed and New Year’s Day approached, online shoppers stayed busy.

According to the 2018 Holiday Retail Index by Verizon, average daily e-commerce traffic to the top 25 U.S. retailers increased by 7.5% year-over-year on Thursday, Dec. 27 and 7.7% year-over-year on Friday, Dec. 28. Excepting a 20% year-over-year decline in U.S. online retail traffic on Sunday, Dec. 30, e-commerce traffic increased every day compared to the prior year between Wednesday, Dec. 26 (0.2%) and Sunday, Dec. 30. Saturday, Dec. 29 saw a 3.4% year-over-year increase.

Sunday, Dec. 30 was a particularly mild day across much of the northeast. Michele Dupre, group VP, retail, hospitality and distribution, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said that unseasonable conditions in that part of the country may have prevented e-commerce traffic from growing even more compared to the same period in 2017.

“E-commerce traffic to retail sites maintained a strong daily drumbeat throughout the week as shoppers have come to expect great deals after Christmas leading up to the New Year,” said Dupre. “The northeast saw warm weather which might have enticed more to trek out to physical stores.”

Other data confirms that the holidays were merry and bright for e-commerce retailers. For example, Adobe Analytics data indicated $110.6 billion was spent online by the end of December 19th (since Nov. 1) — an increase of 17.8% year-over year — making it the biggest online shopping period of all time in the U.S. and beating last year’s record of $93.9 billion by $16.7 billion. Adobe forecast that the 2018 holiday season (November 1 to December 31) would see at least $126 billion in total U.S. online retail sales.

Many retailers try to boost e-commerce traffic and sales during the crucial holiday period with special promotions and extra emphasis on customer service and shipping. This includes omnichannel shopping options such as click and collect, which Adobe Analytics reported was being used 47% more in 2018 than during the 2017 holiday season. Dupre advised that retailers seeking to succeed in e-commerce year-round should keep that Christmas spirit going.

“As retailers finish off a successful 2018 holiday season and focus on 2019, the goal will be to retain those holiday customers,” said Dupre. "Targeted offers, unique experiences, convenient shipping options, and strong customer support in-store and on-line are expected year-round, so customers who had a great experience in December will want an even better one in June.”
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