Holiday Shopping: Statistics and Data Behind the Trends

Economists have philosophized extensively about the ongoing competition between online and in-store shopping. Some speculate that brick-and-mortar stores will eventually fade away, but that forecast seems premature. While online shoppers love the convenience, there remain a great many shoppers who prefer the in-store experience.

During the holiday season – including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other one-off sales and door-busters – both online and in-store sellers have an enormous task: to maintain enough inventory for shoppers during those high-volume periods, and ensure that order fulfillment is coordinated on time.

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday Statistics

Black Friday: The term “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s, where it was used to describe the heavy traffic from both pedestrians and vehicles that occurred the day after Thanksgiving, when many people chose to shop. Businesses reportedly didn’t like the negative connotation associated with the term, however, and in the early 1980s, an alternate explanation of the term emerged: Black Friday now described the day when retailers finally started going into the black, or turning a profit. How much do we spend on Black Friday? Canadian e-company Shopify created a map that illustrated in real time transactions among the 600,000 merchants who use its platform. At about 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Black Friday, global sales per minute ranged from about $430,000 to $450,000. Sales per minute on Black Friday reached their peak at $870,000, and in total, Shopify merchants generated more than $573 million on Black Friday. Black Friday became so popular that it inspired a couple of additional holidays.

Cyber Monday: This holiday has strongly appealed to those who want to shop from the comfort of their homes. Cyber Monday sales in 2018, according to USA Today reporter Mike Snider, likely hit $7.9 billion, surpassing expectations.

#GivingTuesday: #GivingTuesday was established in 2012 to inspire philanthropic endeavors to organizations in need. The holiday generated a record $274 million in donations in 2017.

How Many People Shop Online?

Euclid released a report in 2017 that described the relationship between online and offline shopping. Millennials, the report said, intended to browse in stores, but buy online. Millennials represent only part of the picture, however; Euclid also found that 92 percent of retail spending still happens in stores. Further, 86 percent of respondents said they choose to visit a particular retailer based on the perceived convenience of its location.

What Are People Buying Online?

A random survey of 1,000 men and women across the United States found that “consumers shop at brick and mortar retailers, primarily for discounted merchandise, food, drug, and health and beauty aids, as well as for consumer electronics, appliances, building supplies, and clothing,” said Kristin MacMillan, President of Imprint Plus, who conducted the survey. 

Not all gifts are tangible; gifting experiences has grown in popularity over the years, and online shoppers will book vacations, staycations, or even a special family getaway for the holidays in droves — through the popularity of holiday travel means much of this spending takes place well in advance of Cyber Monday.

Online shopping is all about convenience, but the fact remains that many consumers still want to hold an item in their hands before the purchase.

Holiday Shopping Logistics: Preparing for Seasonal Surges

For retailers, the holiday season presents numerous challenges related to infrastructure, staffing, communication and more.

Warehouse Management for the Holiday Rush: Preparing for the holiday sales rush requires making sure that all warehouse equipment and retail systems are in working order, and have received proper maintenance to avoid a sudden crash or delay right in the midst of the busiest time of the year.

Effective warehouse inventory tracking can be complicated on an ordinary day; on major sales days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, having all the moving parts and resources in place becomes even more critical.” Warehouse inventory database software can help traditional and online retailers get inventory ready for the sales rush and prepare for the sudden change in demand for staff and equipment.

Predictive Analytics, Meet Inventory Management

Active businesses leverage the intelligence of multiple systems, tools, and software to get the most out of both data, and smart systems. Integrations, for example, help businesses work more efficiently, saving time and money and improving accuracy.

AI and big data can allow retailers to stock inventory appropriately to meet increased holiday shopping demand. Many features of AI are making a significant impact on the inventory management process – for example, automated inventory monitoring, machine learning, data mining, and robot automation.

Inventory database software also can be a real game-changer. The software enables companies to manage hundreds of moving parts, from warehouse shelves to seasonal staff to forklifts and warehouse robots – and, in the long term, increase your productivity and decrease the likelihood of misplaced items.

Asset Panda can eliminate headaches this season, keep your inventory management running like a well-oiled machine and, most important, keep your customers happy. .



Courtney Roush

Courtney Roush is a freelance writer, editor, and communications strategist with 25 years of experience. Her favorite discipline is crisis communications – and it’s a highly relevant one in our present times.

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