Are you ready for the holiday rush? If you haven’t started preparing just yet, it’s time to get things rolling, because we’re looking at yet another record-breaking year for holiday sales. In fact, we’re predicting an impressive 9% growth in holiday ecommerce sales for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) based on data pulled from our store owners, who processed a whopping $1.75 billion from January through June this year.
Although we’ve experienced double-digit gains in previous years, the sheer volume of transactions makes achieving such high levels of growth more difficult. And whereas some projections are ranging above 15% for the overall ecommerce industry, a lot of those gains will shift toward mega-retailers like Amazon. The good news is that 9% growth is still an exciting number that demonstrates a healthy level of growth for SMBs this holiday season.
One big driver for this year’s holiday rush will come from mobile commerce, which further shows just how quickly consumers are diversifying their usage of devices when shopping online. In the second quarter of 2014 alone, Volusion merchants saw a 23% growth in mobile sales. One important thing to note, however, is that mobile still accounts for less than 15% of ecommerce sales, with the majority of purchases coming from desktop devices. In other words, mobile definitely matters, but your main ecommerce site will serve as your main attraction for online sales this holiday season.
Based on the same data pulled from our merchants during the first half of this year, some industries are expected to outperform our general projection of 9% holiday growth. For starters, Arts & Crafts merchants saw a 23% gain from January to June of 2014, which makes sense as we see a larger trend of online shoppers looking to smaller businesses for these types of products, like with Etsy. Another top-performing industry this year is Home & Garden, which experienced 21% growth over the first half of the year, corresponding with a larger uptick in the overall housing market.
Shifting focus back to general SMB ecommerce performance, two key influences beyond mobile will have a big impact this holiday season. The first is a shortened selling season, with only 26 days existing between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the second is heightened competition with big-box retailers and Amazon due to increased comparison shopping. For smaller retailers to have a better chance against these giant brands, SMBs are recommended to leverage their marketing efforts early, focusing on social media, email, and loyalty programs.
2014 is going to be one heck of a ride for the ecommerce industry, so finding new and innovative ways to attract consumers and increase sales conversions will be of huge importance to SMBs. All it will take is some forward planning and thinking for you to take a piece of Amazon’s market share during these oh-so important selling months—which is why we’ll be here to guide you through the process all season long.