Dashing Thru the Data, Nov 23 Analysis: “26 vs. 32 Days to Shop”

There’s been a lot of chatter around the web over the latest update to ShopVisible’s “Dashing Thru the Data” dashboard, where we present a few high level metrics from more than 70 sites to capture online shopping trends this holiday season. At first glance, the numbers look pretty gloomy – vs. the same period in 2012:

  • Traffic and order volume are down 20%
  • Average order size is down 15%
  • Conversion rates are down 1%

On the surface, it appears we’re in for a rather disappointing holiday season online. But even though we’re looking at the same dates year over year, it’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison.

26 vs. 32 Days to Shop This Holiday Season

We’re all aware that the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, unofficially kicks off the holiday shopping season. Retailers have been able to create an enormous amount of hype over the years, offering can’t-miss deals to shoppers willing to stand in enormous lines in the wee hours of the morning on the day after they’ve given thanks for all they have. And while we’ve seen the controversial trend of stores opening on Thanksgiving Day pop up over the past few years, most shoppers view Black Friday as the start of the holiday shopping season.

Since 1941, Thanksgiving has officially fallen on the fourth Thursday in November. In 2012, it fell on the earliest potential date, November 22, giving shoppers 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, giving us the longest holiday shopping season possible. This year is the other extreme – Thanksgiving falls on the latest potential date (November 28), meaning there’s only 26 days to shop before Christmas.

Note: Above shows where Thanksgiving  fell in 2012 versus 2013

As we examine the metrics on the Dashing Thru the Data dashboard, we have to keep in mind that the latest update includes the week ofThanksgiving for 2012 as compared to the week before Thanksgiving in 2013. While we traditionally think of Cyber Monday as the big online kick-off, web traffic and sales usually start building Thanksgiving week.

The Week Before Thanksgiving

Looking specifically at the week before Thanksgiving might give us a more realistic picture of how the online shopping season might end up. In 2012, that would be the week ending in 11/17, where this year it’s the week ending 11/23:

  • Average Weekly Traffic down 8%
  • Average Weekly Transactions down 11%
  • Average Order Value down 5%
  • Conversion down 3%

While it may still be discouraging for retailers to see the numbers below last year, it’s certainly an improvement over the comparison by date.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we comment on our weekly updates to the Dashing Thru The Data dashboard via ShopVisible’s Commerce Insights blog.  And follow us with #merrydata on Twitter as we progress into the busiest time of year for eCommerce.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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