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Five Fascinating Stats and Trends from Christmas 2019


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We take a look at some key Christmas ecommerce stats from December 2019.

Christmas Online Shopping Growth

While Black Friday and the days around it now tend to produce the biggest sales and traffic peaks for online retailers, the Christmas shopping season remains vital for ecommerce.

Using data from a sample of SaleCycle clients, we can see plenty of growth in online sales year on year.

  • Overall traffic to online retailers was up 22% on December 2018.
  • Direct ecommerce sales rose by 23%, while recovered sales (shoppers returning to complete abandoned transactions) rose by 22% YOY.

Cart Abandonment Rates: Dec 2019

Cart abandonment rates during December fell slightly year on year, from 84.98% in December 2018, to 83.48% this year.

Christmas ecommerce stats: cart abandonment

We can see key differences in abandonment rates between different sites. Luxury retailers see relatively high abandonment rates (almost 92% this year), in part due to higher product prices.

Christmas ecommerce stats: december 2018

Comparing data to that from our last Remarketing Report, which looks at the first six months of 2019, we can see how sales periods affect abandonment rates.

Generally, abandonment rates drop during periods where there are lots of promotions from retailers, or during limited shopping seasons like the run up to Christmas.

cart abandonment rates by sector

For example, fashion abandonment rates dropped from 87.78% to 83.9% in December, while jewellery abandonment fell from 88.6% to 86.7%.

Cart Abandonment Email Stats

Cart Abandonment email open rates in December were higher than the average for H1 2019 (43.73% vs 40.14%).

cart abandonment email open rates

Click Through Rates (CTR) were especially high for our sample of retailers, at 38.12%, compared to 28.64% for H1 2019.

Christmas ecommerce stats: email ctr

Email conversion rates were especially high for retail, at just over 30%.

Mobile Beats Desktop for Traffic, Not Sales

Another key trend of the Christmas shopping season was that mobile is consistently sending more traffic to retailers than desktop, according to Adobe stats.

However, shoppers still prefer to convert on desktop, which pulled in 60% of sales despite attracting a minority of overall traffic (38%).

This may be partly due to the use of mobile as a research channel, but more likely reflects the fact that shoppers find it easier to convert on desktop.

In order to narrow this gap, and make the most of mobile traffic, a key area of focus for retailers in 2020 will be to improve the mobile experience, with checkout a key area of focus.

Growth Coming From Online for Multichannel Retailers

One key trend coming through from early Christmas trading updates from retailers is that ecommerce growth is (partly) compensating for declining store sales.

  • For Sainsbury’s (including Argos), overall retail sales fell by 0.7% YOY, while ecommerce sales were up 7.3%.
  • Next reported a 15.3% rise in online sales, compared to a 3.9% drop in store sales.

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.