Behind the data: 3 key US holiday shopping trends

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“The end is near!” must be a thought on the top of every retailer and ecommerce team’s mind come December 25th. As holiday promotions have slipped earlier and earlier into our calendars, shoppers and retailers alike are feeling the sale fatigue.

So how do you beat it? With better insights into your shoppers preferences and strategies to combat one-time promotional shoppers. We analyzed millions of visitors from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday to identify the top three trends behind holiday shopping behaviors in the US.

Take advantage of the holiday traffic surge

We found that visits from new users almost doubled in the time between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, with conversion rates almost tripling. It’s fairly obvious that new users are after one thing during peak holiday shopping—a deal. But that doesn’t mean these users aren’t going to drop some serious dough.

New users are apt to spend more by 50% per user over Thanksgiving weekend. Because they are new to your brand, they are likely to purchase more during a sale. These users are also harder to convert though, with 3% of new users converting versus 7% of returning users.

Make sure to educate new users when they land on your site to help convert them. Offering a welcome message, guiding new users towards curated selections of merchandise, or reinforcing your brand USPs are great ways to keep new users engaged.

Not all visitors are created equal

Returning users also came back in force, with equal gains in conversion rates when compared with typical shopping activity in October. But returning users saw an overall decline in AOV, so while returning visitors may be converting at a higher rate, they are spending less money on average than new visitors.

To help combat this, make sure you have upsell opportunities in place across the customer journey to increase the AOV, with product recommendations on product pages as well as on the basket page. 

Turkey day doesn’t make for sleepy shoppers

According to Recode, Thanksgiving ecommerce revenue numbers grew  25% in 2015 from the previous year, outpacing Black Friday growth. We saw similar data this year, with a conversion rate uplift of 6.7% for new visitors and 10.1% for returning visitors on Thanksgiving. That number steadily dipped over the Black Friday weekend, surging again on Monday for the last promotions on Cyber Monday.

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(Source: Qubit)

As the pressure to get shopping done earlier and earlier rises, shoppers are willing to sacrifice some time on Thanksgiving to make sure they get what they want before quantities run out. Capitalize on this sense of urgency by deploying countdown timers and low stock level pointers to keep customers in the know. Or, to keep shoppers engaged through the weekend, you could release tiered deals to increase engagement.

What techniques have you seen drive results for holiday shoppers? We’d love to hear!

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