Online Retail Soars in 2017

Online holiday sales reached a new high in 2017. Consumers spent a collective $108 billion online in the November 1 through December 31 period. That represents a 17.4% increase over the same time period in 2016 according to Adobe.

To the surprise of few, retail sales continue to shift from stores to digital. Online retail was 20% of total retail sales for the November 1 through December 31 period of 2017. That number should continue to rise. 37.5% of those digital sales were through Amazon.

Here’s some numbers from Adobe:

The only 3 days consumers did not spend $1 billion online were December 23, 24 and 25.

U.S online retail had a year over year increase of 15% or better in every quarter of 2017.

Cyber Monday was the largest online retail sales day in history with $6.59 billion in sales.

E-Commerce Sales – 2017 

Thanksgiving = $2.87 Billion
Black Friday = $5.03 Billion
Saturday = $2.43 Billion
Sunday = $2.70 Billion
Cyber Monday = $6.59 Billion

Amazon, of course, dominated and had their own largest day of sales in history. As noted earlier, 37.5% of online retail was from Amazon during the Holiday shopping period. Amazon was 32% of online retail in November of 2017 and 40% in December.

Online Retailers – 2017 Holiday Period

Top 5 Websites – Overall E-Commerce Market Share

Amazon – 37.4%
Best Buy – 4.7%
Target – 2.9%
Wal-Mart – 2.4%
Apple – 2.3%

Historically, sales on online-only retail websites decline as the Holidays approach, with the reason being that consumers feel like their packages won’t arrive on time for Christmas. However, that is not the case with Amazon.  Amazon dominates largely thanks to their hyper efficient fulfillment network. Prime will guarantee 2-day delivery. In fact, fulfillment is so crucial to Amazon’s market dominance that the company expanded their warehouse space by 30% in 2017.

The Search for Consumers

55.9% of retailers said paid search was one of the marketing categories they planned to spend a large share of their Holiday retail budgets according to Internet Retailer. These e-comm brands are big on utilizing Google’s product listing ads (PLAs). The product listing ads are the ones that present product images, prices and the name of the seller. The retailer can set their target return on ad spend, which is the same as with any other ad format in AdWords, but these types of ads bring the customer straight to the point of sale, rather than a landing page with a form. PLAs are relatively new, the 2017 Holiday season was their introduction. 

Did you know who AdWords top customer is? Well we’re talking e-commerce, so of course it’s Amazon. Amazon controlled 11.9% of U.S Google desktop clicks and 3.2% of PLA clicks during the 2017 Holiday season. And according to data from SimilarWeb, 11% of Amazon’s search traffic was paid during the 2017 Holiday season. 11% might not sound like a large percentage of traffic, but when we’re talking about Amazon, 11% of traffic for a 2 month period represents over 5.3 billion visits. That’s a lot of money spent on search ads. 


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