01.07.2016Enterprise Tech

2015 Verizon Retail Index tracks broadband and mobile holiday traffic

Retail Index -- 1 7 16 (Bar Chart)Retail Index -- 1 7 16 (Line Chart)Retail Index_Mobile 1 7 16 (Bar Chart)Retail Index_Mobile 1 7 16 (Line Chart)

Key insights from the 2015 Verizon Retail Index

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activity began to taper off by Mon., Jan. 4, dipping dramatically from the New Year’s weekend highs to 12 percent above average daily levels, followed by 9 percent above on Tues. (Jan. 5) and 8 percent by Wed. (Jan. 6).  This is a similar year-over-year pattern.
  •  Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce returned to normal levels by Wed., Jan. 5.  Year-over-year, overall traffic was slightly lower than this same time last year.

As the holiday season is now winding down, so is the Verizon Retail Index.  For our final post, we leave you with the following top insights from the 2015 holiday season:

‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint’

“The post-Christmas market is as important, if not more, than the Black Friday weekend as we saw the highest traffic patterns of the season over the New Year’s weekend,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.   “The message for retailers is don’t give up on your engagement strategies once Christmas arrives.  This season’s ‘sneak peek’ promotions in advance of Black Friday appeared to effectively entice consumers and the key is to evaluate these throughout the season to determine a winning formula for capturing wallet share.  One cautionary tale, however; is because the season began so early, many promotions started blending together, leaving consumers wondering if they were getting the best deal.”

‘Hello Cyber Season, goodbye Cyber Monday’

“Cyber Monday is not what it once was,” added Dupré.  “Days such as ‘Cyber Monday’ and ‘Green Monday’ are more like a typical day according to the traffic patterns we saw and are essentially being kept alive by retailers who only have an e-commerce presence.  Effective online engagement by the retail industry and fail-proof website platforms are essential throughout the season.  Widespread access to high-speed online connections also is not the issue it once was when ‘Cyber Monday’ began and today’s consumers are leveraging fast connections from the palms of their hands.’

‘It’s now a digital world… after all’

“Given the high peaks in mobile traffic we saw and the steady overall engagement by consumers, the message for retailers is to invest in digital strategies because your customers now live in a digital world.  As more consumers use their mobile devices to shop and make purchases, their experience from start to finish has to be easy and seamless to keep them coming back for more.”

Deadlines are motivators – it’s that simple

“Whether final shipping deadlines, the frenzied hours before Christmas or time-bound Super Saturday sales, it’s human nature to be motivated by deadlines and this holiday season was no different as we saw significant spikes in traffic volume around these ‘moments in time’.  The lesson here is to take advantage of deadlines to move merchandise and target your loyal customers with promotions that suggest you understand their shopping needs.”

 

Key Findings for January 4, 2016: The shopping is showing no signs of stopping

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activity reached new heights over the New Year’s holiday weekend (Jan. 1-3), posting highs of 28, 32 and 36 percent respectively above average daily levels – a similar pattern to last year. Notably, Sunday posted the highest activity of the season to date which is consistent with the trend identified during the 2014 season.
  • Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce was lower (98, 99 and 97) than usual over the holiday weekend. Year-over-year, overall traffic was higher this same time last year.

“As expected, retailers rang in the new year with a bang as they rallied to the finish line to move merchandise including excess winter inventory,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Retailers enticed consumers with time-bound promotions to create a sense of urgency and consumers with extra time on their hands due to the long holiday weekend appeared to respond in droves.”

Dupré believes that today’s findings indicate there is still time to capture wallet share this week as the season begins to wind down and mobile engagement will be key as many consumers return to work.

 

Key Findings for December 31: Out with the old, in with the new…merchandise

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activity has continued to soar this week, posting highs of 26, 25 and 23 percent respectively above average daily levels from Dec. 28 to 30 -- a similar pattern to last year. Notably, the peak volumes have been the highest of the season, posting 19, 18 and 17 percent above average over the past three days, indicating strong consumer engagement.
  • Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce is also higher than usual this week, posting a 6 percent increase by Wed. (Dec. 30). Year-over-year however, overall traffic was somewhat higher this same time last year.

“Repeating a pattern from last year, ecommerce activity has continued to be very strong this week  as many consumers take advantage of the book-ended holiday weekends and time off from work to shop for end-of-season deals,” said Mark Sidwell, director of retail mobile solutions sales for Verizon. “Retailers also appear to be effectively reaching consumers with attractive offers that are likely to continue in the coming days as the season winds down.”

Sidwell believes today’s findings indicate consumers are paying attention to the offers received from retailers and that shopping activity will likely be strong through this weekend as the new year is ushered in.

 

Key Findings for December 28: It’s Black Friday weekend all over again, only better

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activity increased dramatically starting on Christmas Day to 26 percent above average daily levels, posting a seasonal high of 30 percent above normal levels by Sun. (Dec. 27). In fact, Dec. 25, 26 and 27 recorded the highest three days of the 2015 season, repeating a similar pattern from this time last year.
  • Conversely, mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce dipped 2 percent below average daily levels on Christmas Day, indicating consumers may have put aside their devices for the holiday. By Dec. 26 however, mobile traffic was on an upward trajectory again, posting 4 percent higher than usual on Saturday followed by 5 percent on Sunday. Year-over-year, the pattern was similar, although traffic was a little higher during the 2014 season.

“Echoing a trend from last season, ecommerce activity was hopping on Christmas and the days immediately following, as consumers began redeeming gift cards and taking advantage of post-holiday promotional offers,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.   “Retailers need to stay the course with their engagement strategies and continue to reach consumers with attractive promotions to give them a reason to buy as they make their returns and exchanges.”

Dupré believes that today’s findings indicate that wallet share is still very much in play and targeted online and mobile promotions will continue to motivate consumers to spend their money.

 

Key Findings for December 24: It’s not over ‘till it’s over...

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activity has been heavy this week, including 11 percent above average daily levels on Tues. (Dec. 22) and 13 percent on Wed. (Dec. 23), posting some of the strongest back-to-back numbers of the season.
  • Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce has also been strong this week, spiking to a season high since tracking began of 10 percent above average daily levels on Tues. (Dec. 22), followed by 8 percent above average on Wed. (Dec. 23).

“As expected, the powerful trifecta of last-minute holiday shopping, sustained promotional offers and final guaranteed shipping deadlines has continued to drive strong online and mobile commerce activity this week,” said Mark Sidwell, director of retail mobile solutions sales for Verizon. “And although in-store foot traffic will likely be heavy in these final hours, online and mobile engagement will continue to be strong as retailers enter the next phase of the season when all of the millions of gift cards start to be redeemed.”

Sidwell believes that today’s findings indicate there is still wallet share to be gained today as many consumers are out in force finalizing their shopping lists.

 

Key Findings for December 21: More like Super Weekend

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activity soared 20 percent above average daily volumes on Sunday (Dec. 20) with overall weekend traffic equaling that of the two days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce was 3 percent higher than average on Sunday (Dec.  20) and when combined with Super Saturday (6 percent above average) outpaced the weekend volumes since tracking began before Thanksgiving. The peak mobile volumes are continuing to spike, posting a 16 percent increase above average on Sunday.

“An annual holiday tradition, the procrastinators are now bringing it home for the industry and have been feverishly shopping online, from their mobile devices and in stores,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “The question becomes will these last-minute shoppers take advantage of the new retail conveniences such as ‘curbside’ pick-up and extended store hours, or will they gamble and bank on guaranteed delivery promises to make sure their gifts arrive on time?”

Dupré believes that today’s Verizon Retail Index findings indicate that retailers have more to gain in these final days and hours before Christmas and that now is not the time to let up on promotions.

 

Key Findings for December 20: And a Super Saturday it was

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activity soared at 19 percent above average daily traffic on Super Saturday (Dec. 19), posting the second highest number of the season since the Sunday (121 Index) following Black Friday, repeating a similar pattern from last year.
  • Average daily mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce is 6 percent higher than average on Super Saturday, though down overall from this day in 2014. The peak volume continues to spike, posting a 15 percent increase above average on Super Saturday and indicating retailers are reaching consumers through mobile apps on their smartphones and tablets.

“As expected, there was a surge in both online and mobile commerce on Super Saturday as consumers rushed to wrap up their shopping,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “This effective one-two punch combined with heavy in-store traffic means it was a solid day for retailers, though all indications are that there is still shopping to be done and wallet share to be gained in these final days before Christmas.”

Dupré believes that today’s Verizon Retail Index findings indicate retailers are successfully cracking the code on consumer engagement this season.

 

Key Findings for December 17: Give it all you got

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activities has been steadily increasing above average daily volumes during the week, posting a 6 percentage point increase by mid-week (Dec. 15) versus the same day last year when it was flat. The peak traffic has also been higher overall with 10 percentage point increases on both Mon. and Tues. (Dec. 14 and 15). This is consistent with last year’s pattern.
  • Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce is posting higher than average volumes all week including 6 percentage points higher on Tues. (Dec. 15) and 5 percentage points on Wed. (Dec. 16). The peak volumes are continuing to soar and increased 16 percentage points by mid-week (Dec. 16) which is a new trend this year.

“The pressure is now on for consumers who haven’t wrapped up their shopping and for retailers who need to strike the right balance with lucrative offers that will offset the shipping cost increases for on-time delivery by Christmas,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Heading into Super Saturday, we can expect to see strong activity across all channels – online, mobile and in-store – as consumers take advantage of the added conveniences such as extended store hours and same day delivery. And now the question becomes are the logistics locked down that will allow retailers and shippers to deliver on the promises they have made?”

Dupré believes that today’s Verizon Retail Index findings indicate that retailers will need to step up their online and mobile promotions in these last shopping days before Christmas to capture wallet share. In addition, the final ground-shipping deadlines appear to be having a greater impact on ecommerce than “Green Monday.”

 

Key Findings for December 14: T-10 Days and Counting

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activities over the weekend posted the highest numbers of the season since the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, spiking 15 percent above average daily traffic volumes on Sat. (Dec. 12) and 19 percent on Sun. (Dec. 13).
  • Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce continued to climb heading into the weekend, posting 9 percentage increases above average daily traffic volumes on both Thurs. (Dec. 10) and Fri. (Dec. 11). The peak mobile volumes continued to spike above average daily levels through the weekend, hitting highs of 21 and 20 percent on Thurs. (Dec. 10) and Fri. (Dec. 11) as more consumers use their phones or tablets to shop on the go.

“With the Christmas countdown getting closer and final ground shipping deadlines for on-time delivery now upon us, online and mobile commerce activity has been soaring,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Though overall online traffic volumes remain pretty consistent year-over-year, the peaks in mobile traffic are striking this season with a pattern suggesting that consumer expectations are being set heading into the weekend. People seem to have a pretty good idea what they will be buying once they have more time to shop.”

Dupré believes that today’s Verizon Retail Index findings demonstrate that many retailers are breaking through to consumers with targeted mobile promotions that are capturing their attention and incentivizing them to shop.

 

Key Findings for December 10: Getting it done while on the run

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activities on the first three days of the week (Dec. 7-9) dipped below average daily traffic volumes from the preceding weekend, returning to a typical level (100) by Wed. (Dec. 9), which echoed a similar trend from this time last year.
  • Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce steadily climbed this week, posting four and six percentage increases above average daily traffic volumes on Tues. (Dec. 8) and Wednesday (Dec. 9). Notably, the peak volume hit a high of 16 percent above average daily levels on Tues. (Dec. 8) and Wed. (Dec. 9), suggesting promotions are picking up as the weekend nears and more consumers are shopping via mobile.

“What’s setting this season apart from last is the level of mobile engagement we are seeing with the peak volumes which indicates retailers are learning how and when to target consumers in a digital environment,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Though overall traffic volumes for both online and mobile remain pretty consistent year-over-year, email promotions and loyalty program incentives appear to be driving the peaks and capturing mindshare. The punch line, of course, is whether this interest will convert to sales, or will consumers continue to hold out for better deals?”

Dupré believes that today’s Verizon Retail Index findings demonstrate many retailers are effectively transitioning to today’s increasingly mobile world where consumers live, work and play. Today’s consumers demand to be engaged on their own terms and the industry is responding accordingly.

 

Key Findings for December 7: Is there a Cyber Week shopping hangover?

  • Broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activities on Saturday (Dec. 5) and Sunday (Dec. 6) of Cyber Week  spiked 11 and 14 percentage points respectively above average daily traffic volumes, yet these numbers are slightly lower than last year.
  • Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce steadily increased heading into the weekend, posting five and six percentage point increases above daily traffic volumes on Fri. (Dec. 4) and Saturday (Dec. 5). Notably, the peak volume hit a high of 14 percent above average daily levels on both weekend days, indicating mobile promotions are capturing consumer attention.

“As anticipated, it was a healthy shopping weekend for retailers both online and via mobile, though this time last year was a little stronger,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “It’s possible some consumers hit the ‘pause’ button to recover from the Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Week shopping frenzy.”

Dupré believes that today’s Verizon Retail Index findings demonstrate that online and mobile promotions are effectively driving consumer engagement.  We expect to see this trend continue as the Christmas holiday nears.

 

Key Findings for December 3: Everybody’s working for the weekend…to holiday shop!

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activities on the Tuesday and Wednesday following Cyber Monday continued to decline below average daily traffic volumes (4 and 6 percent respectively), reflecting the exact same pattern as the same two days in 2014.
  • Mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce has steadily increased since Cyber Monday, reflecting a return to average daily volumes by Tuesday (100) and 2 percentage points above average by Wednesday (102).

“Our findings indicate consumers are likely saving their holiday shopping for the upcoming weekend when we anticipate a healthy spike in activity,” said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “More than ever, it’s on retailers to come out with aggressive, relevant promotions and enticements that create a sense of urgency and give the perception that consumers are getting value.”

Dupré believes that today’s Verizon Retail Index findings demonstrate that retailers will see strong engagement across all channels this coming weekend, including healthy in-store foot traffic as final shipping and ordering deadlines draw nearer. Consumers may also feel some heat over inventory, particularly when it comes to toys.  Shoppers will want to ensure they get the gifts topping their lists.

 

Key Findings for December 1: Hello Cyber Season; Goodbye Cyber Monday

  • Wireline broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activities on Cyber Monday dipped dramatically from the Sunday Index (97 versus 121) and was actually 3 percentage points below average daily volumes, which was a similar trend last year.
  • Mobile traffic attributed to online shopping was also down on Cyber Monday and was 1 percentage point below average daily traffic volumes.

“Following a flurry of online shopping activity over the weekend when consumers had more time to shop, Cyber Monday appears to have been emblematic of a more typical Monday," said Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. "From here on out, retailers will need to be very creative in coming up with special offers that will spark consumer attention and then convert that interest into sales.”

Dupré believes today’s Verizon Retail Index findings demonstrate Cyber Monday is not what it once was. Consumers are now online daily as a matter of course and are being consistently bombarded by promotional offers from retailers that began in early November.  The challenge for retailers in the coming weeks will be to really understand and engage with their customer base and not be complacent with their promotional offers as they race to get rid of seasonal inventory and capture market share.

 

Key Findings for November 30 include:

  • Broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activities between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year was up 18 percentage points (Saturday) and 21 percentage points (Sunday) over normal daily volumes.
  • Average daily mobile traffic attributed to m-commerce over the holiday weekend was in line with Black Friday traffic on Saturday (Nov. 28) which saw a 6 percent increase, yet dipped on Sunday (Nov. 29) to pre-holiday traffic volumes (100).
  •  Year-over-year, average daily traffic for e-commerce remained relatively consistent, with m-commerce activity slightly lower over the same time period.

Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions says these findings show the blending of early Black Friday and Cyber Week promotional deals offered by many retailers were successful in engaging consumers to shop online and from mobile devices.  The downside to this newer blending or ‘blurring’ trend however, is that it may create confusion for consumers who question if they are truly getting the best deal, or if they should hold out for a few days or until later in the season. “Early indicators are that Cyber Monday is driving strong online activity with steady engagement continuing throughout the week.  The next battleground for retailers will be how to sustain customer engagement while successfully managing inventory and logistics over the next several weeks until Christmas.  Whether loyalty program deal sweeteners, deeper discounts or enticements such as free shipping, retailers will need to have a number of tricks up their sleeves to outfox the competition.”

 

Key Findings for November 28 include:

  • Broadband traffic attributed to e-commerce shopping activities on Black Friday (Nov. 27) spiked by 12 percentage points from Thanksgiving Day, and is relatively consistent with the same day in 2014.
  • Average daily mobile traffic on Black Friday increased by a few percentage points from Thanksgiving Day, which exhibited the same pattern in 2014.
  • Year-over-year, average daily traffic for both e-commerce and mobile commerce on Black Friday remained relatively consistent.

Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, says these findings show the game is undoubtedly changing. The kickoff weekend to the holiday season is no longer about shopping via a specific channel—whether mobile, online or in-store—on a given date.  It’s the Wild West for retailers as they continue to try new tactics to attract consumers and gain wallet share.  The challenge will be in successfully engaging with customers throughout the season who may be holding out for better deals given all the price slashing and special offers. “Shoppers were out in force on Black Friday and others were also taking advantage of the early online offers that retailers extended to entice consumers who weren’t up for battling the mall crowds. The ‘sneak peek’ Cyber Week offers are proving successful in getting people to shop and browse, and now the race is on for retailers.  As our findings show, the holiday shopping season is a marathon and not a sprint. The winners will be the retailers who can engage consistently with customers and convert this engagement into sales and profit.”

 

Key Findings for November 27 include:

  • Internet traffic attributed to online shopping activities on the Wednesday (Nov. 25) before Thanksgiving increased by three points (105) from the same day in 2014, though declined a few points by Thanksgiving Day.
  • Average daily mobile traffic spiked (109 points) on the Wednesday (Nov. 25) before Thanksgiving though was slightly down from the same day in 2014.
  • Year-over-year, average daily traffic for both wireline and mobile remained relatively consistent, though overall numbers were higher for this same period last year.

Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions says these findings show consumers are responding to the doorbuster deals and heavy promotions that retailers have been offering to get people to come into the stores.  This week’s online and mobile ‘sneak peek’ Black Friday promotions by retailers have proven to be an effective strategy as consumers are now focused on the holiday season and are out shopping in droves. "Early indicators show a strong balance between online, mobile and in-store engagement by consumers.  The retail industry’s strategy to keep Black Friday alive is proving successful as a combination of holiday hours on Thanksgiving Day and deep discounts and doorbuster deals are getting people into the stores.  Mobile and online shopping deals are also proving effective.”

 

Key Findings for November 24 include:

  • Initial findings for the Verizon Retail Index show that on Monday (Nov. 23), average daily wireline traffic for online shopping in the U.S. was below 2014 levels for the start of Thanksgiving week, although there was a healthy spike over the preceding weekend.
  • Year-over-year, average daily wireline traffic on the Monday before Thanksgiving declined by 5  points from the prior year. Traffic over the preceding weekend and on Sunday, Nov. 22 was more in line with 2014 levels for the same period.
  • Average daily mobile traffic heading into the weekend spiked on Fri. (Nov. 20) and Sat. (Nov. 21), and then dipped by Sun. (Nov. 22), suggesting a slight activity drop with the start of the work week.

Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions says these findings show consumers are now responding to the special deals retailers began offering in early November. This week’s online and mobile ‘sneak peek’ Black Friday promotions by retailers will likely prove effective  as work and school schedules slow down and thoughts turn to the holidays. “Retailers are offering special incentives such as free shipping and merchandise discounts to entice consumers well in advance of Black Friday, reinforcing the holiday shopping season is no longer a one-time event confined to the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Although consumers may have been slower to respond to this newer industry strategy, due to factors such as milder temperatures which kept people outdoors longer into the season, recent plunging temperatures in many regions, ‘decking of the halls’ and the approaching Thanksgiving holiday is shifting mindsets, signaling that it’s ‘game on’ for retailers." Thanksgiving weekend is likely to be pivotal and factors including an improving housing market, rising tourism and a decreasing national unemployment rate should bode well for the retail and hospitality industries this year.”