With Cyber Monday the holiday shopping season now has yet another lucrative day of marketing retailers can take advantage of. According to the DHL 2019 Holiday Shipping Survey, the anticipation for holiday shoppers is high among ecommerce sellers. However, it is not as high as in 2018.
2019 Holiday Ecommerce Outlook
The outlook is being tempered by global economic concerns primarily driven by the trade dispute with the U.S and China, as well as the uncertainty of Brexit. Additionally, there is also concern about the United States — Mexico — Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Even though these are international economic conditions, they now have to be part of the equation because of e-commerce. Small businesses can have global customers and suppliers when they conduct business online. Therefore, being aware of what is taking place around the world can better prepare you for any downturns.
In the emailed report, DHL says “… despite global trade concerns, businesses are optimistic about the holiday season and it will remain the most profitable e-commerce shopping period of the year.”
The report comes from a survey of 4,000 responses made up of DHL customers as well as other U.S. e-commerce businesses.
The Growth of Ecommerce
According to the report, the Ecommerce sales for the 2018 holiday shopping season was $126 billion. The number will likely rise as 63% of shoppers around the world say they make most of their holiday purchases online.
Increase in e-commerce sales is still expected. Over 70% of respondents anticipate an increase in e-commerce sales during the 2019 holiday season, compared to the 2018 season. The optimism has decreased slightly from last year, in which 78% expected an increase in e-commerce holiday sales.
However, it is not the case for everyone. Close to a third or 29% say they don’t expect any increase in 2019. The majority or 40% say they expect an increase of 1-20% followed by 21% expecting an increase of 21-50% and the remaining 10% stating they will see an increase of 50%.
On the other hand, businesses are anticipating some challenges for the holiday shopping period in 2019.
On the macro level, 72% of the respondent say global issues will have an impact on their holiday sales. This includes tariffs, the USMCA, and Brexit, which will be significant for almost one-fourth (24%) of the businesses.
With e-commerce, every business, no matter how small can be an international company. For small businesses in the U.S., the uncertainty with USMCA can have serious repercussions. But with this uncertainty, the survey says businesses are expecting more of their sales (30%) to come from Europe.
The key to making international transactions more successful is reliable international delivery. And for 49% of the respondents, the most important factor for a more successful holiday season is fast international delivery. Some of the other factors include providing first-class customer service (31%), a user-friendly e-commerce site (14%), and social media marketing (6%).
While these are practical reasons for ensuring a level of success this holiday season, some businesses are willing to do some outlandish things.
Whatever it Takes
In order to ensure a 50% increase in holiday sales, 37% of businesses say they will listen to the Chipmunk Christmas album on repeat. Depending on how long you have to listen to that album, most owners probably would go for that.
Others would forgo their holiday gifts (27%), gain 10 pounds by overeating (19%), and 17% would volunteer as Santa at the mall.
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This year will also be tough because Thanksgiving is late, meaning one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If this catches people off-guard then perhaps more people shop in-store. But people are definitely shopping online more, so these two work opposite one another.
It will happen. Now that more people are comfortable in buying online, sales are definitely expected to increase.