2018 Holiday E-commerce Stats and What They Mean for 2019 Holiday E-commerce

By Rob Zaleski
Nov 5, 2019
Holiday e-commerce stats

Smart e-commerce merchants know that they can look backward to analyze trends and statistics and apply that knowledge to how they plan for the future. To that end, we are spotlighting some key trends and 2018 holiday e-commerce statistics so you can have a better idea of what to expect for 2019 and beyond.

In 2018, Customers planned to spend $154.53/person when holiday shopping

In 2019, experts are projecting an increase of nearly 4% in spending. Customers spent the most total dollars that they have in the past 15 years by a wide margin. 2018 year-over-year spending increased by $40/shopper, and the anticipated increase for 2019 is about the same.

This means that customers will be eager and willing to spend more on each person they are purchasing gifts for. You’ll need to capitalize on that by presenting them with options and opportunities. Though they’re willing to spend, it still may require some prompting.

One way to do this is to include product recommendations on packing slips and confirmation emails. Customers actually prefer that businesses make recommendations based on their interests and previous purchases, to the tune of nearly 50% of customers according to an eMarketer study.

Build Customer Relationships Product Recommendations

Oddly enough, many people prefer gift cards, according to the National Retail Federation. Add a call-to-action button or suggestion to add gift cards on packing slips, confirmation emails, and sprinkled around your website. Make your CTAs prominent and easy to find and you may benefit from this current trend.

Holiday e-commerce stats 2019

Online shopping grew 16.5% in 2018 year-over-year from 2017

E-commerce has contributed substantially to the surge in retail sales over the past few years. As it becomes easier and easier for customers to find the products they love from stores and marketplaces and have them delivered right to customers’ doors, wallets open.

46% of people polled by NRF said that free shipping and shipping promotions are important to them when shopping. Though we know every year the shipping rates increase, which puts a burden on e-commerce merchants, offering free or discounted shipping is an important means of attracting customers. Amazon, Walmart, and even Target and Best Buy, are all offering quick delivery at low or free rates. To compete with these giants, merchants must find ways to discount shipping.

That starts by making sure you have the best available rates. A platform like ShippingEasy offers USPS Commercial Plus Pricing, and some offer cubic discounts like our Flat Rate Green pricing on qualifying packages. These deeply discounted rates reduce the burden on online merchants when they have to cover the cost of shipping products.

BFCM soared in 2018 at $24.21B, but Cyber Monday was the star

Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend (BFCM) has become an increasingly lucrative time to capitalize on shoppers ready to kick off the holiday e-commerce season. Black Friday used to be the top day for deals, but e-commerce has stolen its thunder and made Cyber Monday the biggest day of the year. That’s good news for e-commerce merchants who don’t have the in-store presence to encourage shoppers to line up at the door at 3 a.m.

The entire weekend has become lucrative, with customers spending $24.21 billion, as noted in the headline of this section. The anticipated 4% increase in holiday e-commerce spending this year means there is a substantial amount of spending to capitalize on.

Black Friday Cyber Monday holiday e-commerce stats

This means you need to be planning your BFCM promotions NOW. Have your email marketing promotions set to go, set up automated email campaigns to fire off to people who shopped with you last year and bring them back, and start segmenting your list to create personalized campaigns that convert.

holiday email templates from ShipipngEasy

All of these statistics from last year add up to one major thing: this could be a big year for holiday e-commerce, and that means big things for your bottom line.

Want more ways you can increase sales this holiday season (and beyond)? Watch the replay of our recent webinar with Ecwid and 3M to learn how to sell on social, how to create repeat business and lifelong customers, and a new way to ship that could save you time and hassle. Here’s to a jolly holiday shopping season!

Watch the Replay


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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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