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Celebrate Christmas in July With These Holiday Insights

4 MINUTE READ | July 17, 2019

Celebrate Christmas in July With These Holiday Insights

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Natalee Geldert, Head of Brand Media

Natalee Geldert has written this article. More details coming soon.

It’s hot, you’re sweaty and longing for some relief from the heat… aren’t you? And while reminiscing about winter, you’re probably also dreaming of all those snowy nights and Holiday celebrations. Well, lucky for you, the Holidays are just under five months away, and we are already beginning to gear up for another busy season.

When thinking about holiday trends, it’s important to look to the past to gain insights for the future, especially in retail. Here’s a look at some of Holiday 2018’s highlights and a few insights to get your 2019 planning started in the right direction.

Overall, the 2018 Holiday season saw more than 14.7 billion visits recorded across Hitwise’s top 500 retailers (up 2% YoY). Sales out-paced traffic trends posting 15% annual gains with $472M+ in online transactions — just on Hitwise’s top 50 retailers! Black Friday and Cyber Monday posted no surprises. Black Friday was the top traffic driving day and followed second in terms of transactions, while Cyber Monday was the number three traffic driver but number one for conversions. As suspected, consumers were researching early last year.

The 2019 Holiday season is just a few months away!

From year-round shopping to brand-centric holidays, the “holidays” no longer mean just the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales leading up to Christmas. Conversion rates were the highest (4.5%) during the last two weeks of the season — 20% higher than Thanksgiving and Black Friday week. Additionally, 13% of transactions occurred in the last full shopping week. 

Isolating Hitwise’s top 50 retailers, Amazon reigned king — noting 42% of traffic share and 72% of all transactions. They yielded the highest conversion rate of 7.4%; Kohl’s followed second at 4%). Over 40 million Americans bought ONLY on Amazon during Holiday 2018, with seven of the top ten products purchased being Amazon products. If you think they were big last year, better hold your breath for what’s in store for 2019.

Looking to Holiday 2019, online will influence an estimated $133.6 billion of total sales, up 13% YoY. Additionally, 82% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers multiple delivery options.

When we look at last year’s trends and findings as well as this year’s forecasts, both brands and planners should consider the following:

  1. Make a Splash on Days Other than BF and CM. Still continue to be present, but also consider avoiding the clutter and high prices of BF/ CM.

  2. Black Friday Shopping is Starting Earlier. Thanksgiving Eve saw a 6% increase in traffic and a 40% increase in transactions.

  3. Harder Fight For the Dollars. The big players are going to get bigger, Amazon especially.

  4. Timing Is Everything. Shorter season requires greater focus on key dates. 

Noting the last point, so why is timing so important this season?

  • This Year Marks a Shorter Season — Holiday 2019 has six fewer shopping days in the season 

  • Your Competition Is Ready — six out of ten retailers start holiday advertising before Halloween 

  • Holidays Fall Differently — Thanksgiving is one week later vs. 2018 and Hanukkah is nearly three weeks later this year, beginning on 12.22.19.

  • Key Dates Drive Dollars — All key shopping dates drove double-digit sales growth last year. Thanksgiving Eve: up 40%, Thanksgiving: up 10%, BF: up 14%, Saturday up: 19% Sunday: up 16%, Cyber Monday: up 15% and Giving Tuesday: up 19%.

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While an unofficial holiday, ‘Christmas In July’ is really a great reminder to begin initiating client conversations while also referencing previous season’s learnings. Starting asking questions and get a jumpstart on your research before those drinks start getting guzzled up and favorite treats consumed like crazy!