Online Holiday Shoppers Already Revving Their Engines

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E-commerce merchants who wait until November to launch their holiday promotions may miss out on as much as 65 percent of online consumers who have either begun their shopping already or plan to begin between now and October. Many retailers were caught off guard by last year’s early start to the season, and a survey conducted in May 2010 by Google and OTX indicates the same pattern will continue this year.

Twenty-one percent of U.S. Internet shoppers had already started making 2010 holiday purchases online by May, and another 14 percent reported that they would begin shopping by August. Twelve percent said they would start shopping online in September, followed by 18 percent who were going to begin in October. That makes a total of 65 percent as compared to the 35 percent of shoppers who reported that they would begin their online shopping in November or December.

The numbers continue the trend started last holiday season, which left many e-commerce merchants left out in the cold when November rolled around. According to comScore, online spending has exhibited quarterly growth of 10 and 9 percent respectively in the first half of 2010, indicating that this will be a stronger holiday season for retailers overall – but those who wait too long may miss out on some of the rewards.

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James | Employee Scheduling Software 08-18-2010 11:51 PM

This summer has been absolutely low low for my ecommerce sites.. it's picking back up for Fall.. and will def try to optimize it out for this winter's shopping season..

Christian Gordun (CEO of Coupon Craze) 08-19-2010 7:31 AM

I do agree that a promotional strategy must be taken into account sooner rather than later, but am not sure that ecommerce merchants were necessarily left out in the cold last year because of that. No doubt shoppers are still being careful with their purchases and not willing spending as lavishly as in the past - looking on this Back to School season it was not as strong as it could have been and as expected. The real issue is that merchants can get overwhelmed when they offer discounts in the short time frame of November and December.

The bottom line is that retailers need to spread out compelling, strategic offers throughout the year and consumers need to act quickly when they see a great deal. In that sense, this early shopping trend creates a win-win situation - consumers find deals sooner creating a budget-friendly, stress-free holiday shopping season, while retailers reach goals earlier in the season.

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