Was the 2019 Holiday Sales Stronger Online or In-Store?

By GrowByData Content Team

holiday sales online-growbydata

The 2019 holiday shopping season has come to an end, and many businesses will be analyzing their revenue to determine where they saw the most sales: online or in-store transactions. Despite the hype that online sales will outdo offline brick-and-mortar retail sales, our data tells a different story.

Reviewing our data analytics, online sales peaked on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While the first half of December 2019 showed above-average sales, online sales saw a downward trend as Christmas approached. Despite that, 2019 holiday sales hit a record high on a single day: Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas).

More walk-in customers visit offline retail stores for their last-minute holiday shopping before Christmas.

Online Revenue Trend Analysis - 2018 vs 2019 | GrowByData

The very same pattern was observed during the 2018 holiday season. Online sales in both 2018 and 2019 spiked on Cyber Monday and Black Friday followed by declining revenue as Christmas approached. From this data, it can be determined that more walk-in customers visit offline retail stores for their last-minute holiday shopping before Christmas as opposed to buying from online stores.

In the National Retail Federation’s estimate, 62% of shoppers were expected to shop in-store on Super Saturday. But for online revenue, a report from Square revealed that only 9% of sales on December 21 were online transactions with companies that have both online and offline presence (as compared to59% for Cyber Monday). The report also mentions that stores with brick-and-mortar locations and online presence had a competitive advantage over those with an online presence only. It follows that as a retailer, you should consider both your offline and online stores in your marketing and advertising business strategy for maximizing your holiday season revenue.

Why Are There More Offline vs. Online Sales Closer to Christmas?

In the U.S., employees typically plan for a long holiday break during the last part of December, which includes travel plans for many. One of the reasons more offline sales happen during this time frame is that shipping dates are most likely not able to meet consumer demand and expected delivery dates. This expectation leads consumers to visit stores in person so they can purchase gifts on-site without waiting for shipping.

Therefore, offline retailers saw a large increase in sales on Super Saturday while online retailers saw a dip. Between the two store types, Super Saturday sales reached a new record high of $34.4 billion — just 10% shy of China’s Singles Day 2019 sales of $38 billion. Taking into consideration the population of the U.S. vs. China, the record sales on Super Saturday 2019 is a very positive sign for the U.S. economy in terms of consumer spending.

Apparel and Accessories Category Tops the Chart

Holiday Sales Online-Black Friday Transaction Ratio Distribution | GrowByData

In 2019, Apparel and Accessories was the best-selling category based on the highest number of sales transactions on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas followed by Sporting Goods and Outdoor.

US Retail Industry-Wise Cyber Monday Transaction Ratio Distribution | GrowByData

Out of the total transactions for the 2019 holiday season, Apparel and Accessories earned 31% of sales on Black Friday, 29% on Cyber Monday and 39% on Christmas respectively.

US Retail Industry-Wise Christmas Transaction Ratio Distribution | GrowByData

Similarly, Sporting Goods and Outdoor was the second-highest category based on the number of transactions with 25% earned on Black Friday, 17% on Cyber Monday and 14% on Christmas.

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