goldsuccesseMarketer has a great set of information about holiday shopping trends for 2012. This is the kind of data that can make a material difference to ecommerce success over the next four months. The big takeaways are that November and December account for almost a quarter of ALL retail sales; that both holiday sales and online sales are expected to be up by at least 15% from a year ago; and that last year over half of all consumers had COMPLETED their holiday shopping before Black Friday.
Some other highlights:
According to recent surveys – 31% of retailers starting promotions earlier this year with 42% starting in October
Thanksgiving day is now the "kick-off" to busy weekend shopping — more people are bringing their smart phones/tablets to Thanksgiving dinner to research deals
Cyber Monday trend — consumers are shopping earlier (before 9am) and later (after 9pm) extending the shopping day
In 2011 — 1 in 4 shoppers purchased a gift via a daily deal site and in 2012 more retailers are doing their own "daily deals"
Other interesting trends / notes
Consumers are using smartphones to research before they buy and 61% of consumers use their phones while shopping in store. Comparison shopping apps are popular for scanning QR codes in store to compare prices at competitors or online.
In 2011 tablet users spent 20% more per order on average than desktop online shoppers and 50% more than smartphone users. Using a tablet is allowing people to extend shopping to earlier and later in the day ("Couch Commerce")
30% of traffic to apparel sites is coming from Pinterest and Pinterest users tend to spend more on average than other shoppers. For example, Wayfairs saw those coming from Pinterest were 10% more likely to make a purchase and spent 10% more than average shopper. Brand Awareness on Pinterest is driving more traffic to sites and FB pages. BUT, Pinterest seems to be most beneficial for apparel sites with less effect elsewhere.
Email was the most useful channel for coupons and promotions in 2011. In addition, using email is an opportunity to recapture abandoned shopping carts, especially since after labor day, cart abandonment rates rise. eMarketer is predicting 90% abandonment rates in November. Their suggestion is to send a sequence of gentle reminders via email which can typically result in a recovery rate of 10-30%.
There is LOTS more fantastic ecommerce advice like this in their webinar on Holiday Shopping and in a whitepaper. You will have to sign up but these are great sources of solid information.