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Holiday Sales: Going Digital With Payments

December 9, 2019 4 min read
The holiday season is here and there are plenty of lessons to take away for retailers and eCommerce businesses out there.
Unlimint team
Your payment experts
Unlimint team
Your payment experts

If there’s ever a time for businesses of all shapes and sizes to take a look at trends in the market, the holiday season is that time. It’s also been a record-breaking year for retailers, so far; with Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday breaking 2018’s records.

Popular products included video games, toys and electronics overall.

From the beginning of November to December 2nd, more than $81.5 billion has changed hands in the retail world, and with the better part of a month to go before Christmas, the National Retail Federation forecasted that holiday sales could break $730 billion.

While people in the U.S. reliably hit the stores in search of the best Black Friday Deals, stores are having to consider going mobile for their stores and digital with their payments.

Comparing the performance of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday directly, according to Adobe Analytics, customers are veering more towards online sales in general.

Cyber Monday managed to easily outperform the more mixed sales performances of Thanksgiving ($4.2bn) and Black Friday ($7.4bn) quite comfortably with $9.4bn in sales – an impressive 19.7% jump compared to last year.

54% of people used smartphones for browsing stores for products before switching to desktop to order them or going in-store.

A more impressive figure to consider comes from the quarterly forecasts of online sales. While $730bn is record-breaking for retail, as a whole. Online sales are expected to reach over $153bn, a 14% increase compared to 2018.

It’s no understatement that online retail is increasing at a pace that outstrips other modes of payment, with eCommerce representing a substantial chunk of sales throughout the holidays.

More than 45% of all sales on Thanksgiving, for example, were done via mobile, which contributed to it breaking $4.4bn for the day. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly $2bn over mobile.

It comes as less of a surprise that mobile purchases have provided a big chunk of all sales during Cyber Monday. $3.1bn in purchases, to be precise, came from smartphone users.

The Biggest Day for Smartphones – Black Friday

That’s the title handed to Black Friday this year, thanks to the staggering level of people using their mobile phones to capitalize on the sales.

Out of a total of $7.4bn in sales, $2.9bn was spent through smartphones. The answer for why this is is quite simple, according to Adobe Digital Insights’ Taylor Schreiner:

“With Christmas now rapidly approaching, consumers increasingly jumped on their phones rather than standing in line,” and that’s a perfectly reasonable reaction.

Why spend time getting squeezed through a shopping door when it can (virtually) come to you?

54% of people used their smartphone to browse for a product before switching to a desktop or going to the store to buy it.

But even though smartphone use is on the rise in retail, eCommerce platforms are still undergoing some growing pains.

For eCommerce businesses and retailers that want to provide a seamless experience, that could lead to longer-term disengagement by users and highlights the importance of having an intuitive website and streamlined payment solution.

Ray of Light for Brick and Mortar

Click and Collect provides users with greater convenience when having packages delivered while providing B&M retailers with more opportunities to collaborate with eCommerce businesses.

While brick and mortar retail is undergoing a downward turn over these last years, holiday sales have demonstrated that there’s value in them yet in the eyes of consumers.

Click and Collect, for example, grew by 43% compared to 2018, with more consumers looking for a balance between the convenience of online retail, and the reliability of collecting from in-store.

This is one of the future directions that BnM retailers need to keep in mind for more than just the holiday season.

According to Post & Parcel, by 2025, more than 10% of all purchases will be completed through click and collect, with BnM retails sales continuing to decline. For businesses in urban areas, click and collect presents a significant opportunity to transition with grace.

It presents a pretty unique opportunity, not only for B&M retailers but also for eCommerce businesses seeking to provide more flexibility for their consumers.

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