With Amazon’s sixth-annual Prime Day in the books and the holidays approaching, online sales continue to climb as the coronavirus rages on.
U.S. online sales for September increased 43% year over year, reaching $60.4 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. This growth was just above August’s online sales growth, which increased 42% year over year.
Adobe Analytics data is based on online sales data from more than one trillion anonymous visits to retail sites and more than 100 million SKUs from 80 of the top 100 retailers in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000. Adobe collects data on 18 product categories including apparel, electronics, home, grocery, appliance, personal care, office supplies, books, jewelry, furniture and toys, among others.
Although online sales were high in September, October might spike even more considering Amazon’s Prime Day occurred Oct. 13-14 and surpassed last year’s 48-hour event by 45.2%, reaching $10.40 billion, a Digital Commerce 360 analysis shows. Amazon is No. 1 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 500.
As the holidays approach, retailers are preparing for strong online sales as a result of store closures amid the pandemic, according to a Digital Commerce 360’s annual retailer holiday survey completed by 118 retailers released in September. 33% of retailers project web sales this holiday season to increase as much as 24%, while an additional 34% are predicting gains of 25% or more. The remaining retailers project flat sales (11%) or a downward trend (22%).
And with the coronavirus still top-of-mind for many consumers, 63% of retailers believe consumers will be more cautious based on circumstances. Yet, 40% are optimistic that there will be a shopping frenzy, given pent-up demand, according to the survey.
Surveys and data continue to point to ecommerce being the winner for the rest of 2020. Ecommerce software provider CommerceHub surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. consumers to identify consumer shopping patterns six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey results, released on Oct. 5, found that 67% find it more convenient to buy items online than in store. And 89% plan to continue spending about the same or more online through November.
Despite consumers flocking to Amazon during Prime Day, more than 35% of consumers continue to shop on sites such as Walmart Inc. (No. 3), Target Corp. (No. 12), The Home Depot Inc. (No. 5), Lowe’s Cos. (No. 22) and eBay Inc. (No. 5 in the ranking of Digital Commerce 360 Top 100 Online Marketplaces), to do their shopping instead of Amazon due to its out of stocks and delayed shipping times, according to CommerceHub.
Also, consumers plan to continue using omnichannel options to pick up their purchases from these retail chains, even once the coronavirus subsides. 67% of consumers in the CommerceHub survey say they are likely to continue using curbside pickup post-pandemic when delivery isn’t available or fast enough, compared with 59% at the start of the pandemic.
Thus, 53% of retailers are expecting BOPIS will play an increasing role in their business, according to the Digital Commerce 360 survey.
“While 2020 will no doubt bring about a non-traditional holiday season, retailers plan to work hard to make sure it’s both healthy and prosperous,” says Lauren Freedman, senior consumer insights analyst for Digital Commerce 360.
How COVID-19 will affect holiday shopping
Even though the pandemic has caused strife for retailers and consumers alike, shoppers want to make the holidays even more special for their family and friends, finds a survey of 12,000 U.S. consumers conducted in September from subscription box marketplace CrateJoy.
78% of survey respondents plan to buy unique gifts that truly suit the recipient and show how much they care. And more than 50% of consumers have already started shopping for these gifts or will begin in October, while 33% plan to start in November and 9% in December.
“Shoppers want to give gifts that show how well they know their loved ones and how much they care, rather than prioritizing a price point, discount, or convenience (including last-minute flexibility),” writes Heather Lefebvre, content marketing specialist at CrateJoy, in a blog post.
In addition, 46% plan to buy gifts that tie into the recipients’ hobbies, 40% plan to gift books, 38% crafts, 34% cooking-related gifts and 33% games.
CrateJoy also reports an increase in subscription box sales in these same experiential categories during the pandemic: crafts-related subscription box sales grew 222%; cooking, 199%; books, 177%; games, 163%; and hobbies, 108%.
CrateJoy is No. 56 in the ranking of Digital Commerce 360 Top 100 Online Marketplaces.