January 18, 2013 Leave a Comment
Two weeks into 2013, the final reports from the 2012 holiday season are rolling in — and the results should make merchants optimistic for sales in the year to come. Industry-wide, spending was up 14% over 2011 for November and December, according to measurement firm comScore, despite leveling growth in the final weeks of the season as consumer confidence was shaken by the “fiscal cliff” negotiations in Washington.
Data from the MarketLive Performance Index shows a similar lull in year-end activity, with engagement and conversion dipping slightly for the week ending December 30. Revenue still grew 2.2%, however, thanks to increased visits of more than 13% and a nearly 5% jump in average order value.
Despite the year-end slowdown, the Index shows significant year-over-year gains, with revenue increasing more than 28% and conversion rates up 7.4% — suggesting that small- and mid-sized merchants held their own against mass merchants and discount sites.
Although the holiday season is officially over, merchants haven’t let up the pace. Post-Christmas sales have given way to Valentine’s Day promotions and previews of new spring merchandise. They’re also taking advantage of the more than 25% increase in visits over the holiday period to acquaint new brand followers with relevant offerings in the hopes of maintaining engagement. To that end, our next two blog posts will explore how to make the most of new audiences by selling socially beyond the “buy” button and keeping new email subscribers engaged — stay tuned!
Overall, the holiday challenge merchants faced to differentiate their offerings in a crowded marketplace will become a year-round preoccupation in 2013, as big brands get bigger and smaller merchants battle fiercely for ownership of their niches. We’ll explore this concept in-depth — as well as look at the top trends and strategies merchants can adapt to fit their brands’ unique needs — in a webinar slated for February 6. Register today — and meantime, let us know: what are your top priorities for the year to come?