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11.20.2019Updated on 12.26.2019Business Tech

2019 Holiday Retail Index

By: Najuma Thorpe
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Verizon’s Holiday Retail Index shows insights into the season’s digital commerce.

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NEW YORK – The holiday shopping season is upon us, and Verizon’s Holiday Retail Index again offers consumer shopping insights to retailers, distributors, hospitality organizations and other industries that play a pivotal role in the activities and traditions that mark this time of year.

Now in its sixth year, the Holiday Retail Index tracks digital commerce traffic across the company’s networks to the top 25 U.S.-based online retailers (and subsidiaries)1. The Holiday Retail Index monitors network traffic throughout the holiday shopping season, including during signature events such as Black Friday and Super Saturday. 

Throughout the season, Michele Dupré, Verizon’s leader for retail, hospitality and distribution, will offer insights based on the Index findings.

Holiday Retail Index Report Schedule

Going forward, findings from the Index will be released throughout the season with an emphasis on key dates, such as final shipping deadlines, which historically have motivated consumers to shop. The list of report publication dates includes:

  • Saturday, November 30 – Thanksgiving and Black Friday report
  • Tuesday, December 3 – Cyber Monday; full weekend
  • Tuesday, December 17
  • Monday, December 23 – last full weekend before Christmas
  • Thursday, December 26 – Post Christmas report
  • Wednesday, January 2 – Post New Year; season wrap up.

1According to eMarketer’s 2017 ranking based on annual revenue.

 

Key findings January 9

Post New Year’s Day, we saw a return to normalcy as eCommerce traffic slowed to pre-holiday levels. For January 2-5 eCommerce traffic showed an average increase of 6%, following solid post-holiday engagement and double digit increases daily from December 26-31.

For the season, consistency is the key word. Retailers started with Black Friday promotions as early as November 1, looking to balance the shortened shopping season. While eCommerce traffic didn’t show heavy spikes during key moments, there was consistent traffic and engagement from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.

6%
average increase in eCommerce traffic for January 2-5 (when compared to November 1-27)

Key findings January 2

In the days leading up to New Year's Day, we saw consistent engagement and volume in eCommerce traffic. On average, traffic increased 15% from December 26-31. As we move into the last weekend of this holiday season, retailers are making their last push to snag consumers with their final holiday promotions. 

15%
average increase in eCommerce traffic for December 26-31 (when compared to November 1-27)

Key findings December 26

We saw a strong surge in eCommerce traffic in the days leading up to Christmas, with double-digit increases for both December 23 and Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, people chose to unplug for the holiday. We anticipate that traffic will increase as we move toward the weekend, with retailers hoping to re-engage consumers with after-Christmas deals. We’ll also see the supply chain in reverse flow as fulfillment centers work to keep pace with returns and exchanges. 

16%
increase in eCommerce traffic on Monday, December 23 (when compared to November 1-27)
32%
increase in eCommerce traffic on Tuesday, December 24 (when compared to November 1-27)

Key findings December 23

In the last full weekend before Christmas, we saw a spike in eCommerce traffic with double-digit increases for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Consumers were enticed both by promotions on Super Saturday and incentives for expedited shipping. Retailers on their game and confident in their distribution channel are even guaranteeing delivery by Christmas Eve, drawing in the last minute shoppers.

15%
increase in eCommerce traffic on Friday, December 20 (when compared to November 1-27)
21%
increase in eCommerce traffic on Saturday, December 21 (when compared to November 1-27)
14%
increase in eCommerce traffic on Sunday, December 22 (when compared to November 1-27)

Key findings December 17

The combination of promotions and shipping deadlines drove solid results for the weekend. It was the last weekend for shoppers to meet ground shipping deadlines, and an uptick in eCommerce traffic shows that consumers were taking advantage of the retailers’ promotions.

With the last full week of shopping off to a strong start, we will see retailers continue with  aggressive promotions, leveraging minimum purchase volumes for free expedited shipping and the ability to leverage in-store pick-up. 

 

26.6%
Average increase in eCommerce traffic for December 14 and 15 (when compared to November 1-27)

Key findings for Cyber Monday

Enticing offers from retailers and consumer confidence kept momentum going throughout the weekend and Cyber Monday. Over the extended weekend, eCommerce traffic was up an average of 13% over the rest of November. With Cyber Monday turning into Cyber Week, we expect momentum to carry through the rest of the week.” - Michele Dupre

13%
Average increase in eCommerce traffic during the extended holiday weekend (when compared to November 1-27)

Key findings for Thanksgiving and Black Friday

"With “Black Friday” promotions starting as early as November 1, we’re seeing that consumers have spread out shopping over the month, indicating confidence in some of those early deals. There was a healthy increase in traffic for Black Friday, with eCommerce traffic up 14% compared to the rest of November, and that trend continued with a 19% increase for Saturday. However, the risk in running month-long deals is you may not see the massive spikes in online traffic on actual Black Friday. Retailers are still looking to continue excitement to close the weekend and with Cyber Monday promos."  - Michele Dupre

14%
Increase in eCommerce traffic on Black Friday over November 1-27
19%
Increase in eCommerce traffic on Saturday, November 30 over November 1-27

Key findings from November 2019

In taking an initial look at digital shopping for November, data shows lower than expected traffic to retail sites.  

“Consumers aren’t quite in the holiday spirit yet,” said Dupre, “Although many retailers started Black Friday promotions on November 1, we’re seeing that digital traffic is off to a slower start this year. The Holiday season starts later this year, so we expect that traffic will increase toward the end of this week and continue through the week of Thanksgiving. We are still seeing that consumers are more engaged on weekends, but the real fun will start when we are closer to Thanksgiving.” - Michele Dupre

-9.3%
eCommerce traffic for Nov. 11-17 2018 vs Nov. 11-17 2019
About the author(s): 

Najuma is an external communications manager with Verizon, supporting the Verizon Business Group.