November is here, which means the holiday season is in full swing with retailers dropping gift guides, shop windows setting a festive scene and Christmas trees sprouting up in every available square inch of selling space.
The most critical period of the year, however, is still a couple weeks away. According to a new report from Adobe, retailers will make nearly one-fifth of their total e-commerce haul this holiday between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. That five-day period is expected to represent $23.4 billion in online sales.
E-commerce sales on Turkey Day alone are expected to leap 16.5 percent, to $3.3 billion. Cyber Monday will dwarf that take with $7.7 billion in sales for a record-breaking 17.6 percent increase, the company said. Adobe added the “golden hours” will be between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Pacific Time, during which stores should rack up more revenue than the average full day during the previous calendar year.
To realize the full potential this shopping season, however, Adobe said retailers need to have both an online and offline presence. “As online shopping surges with another record-breaking holiday season, the retailers with compelling websites coupled with physical store locations will have the advantage,” said John Copeland, head of marketing and customer insights at Adobe. “Many shoppers want to interact with retailers’ products and the brand in-store, and the ability to pick up online orders in-store within a matter of hours can’t be underestimated.”
Further dispelling the notion that it’s bricks or clicks, Adobe predicts retailers that operate online and through stores will experience 28 percent higher conversion rates compared to their online-only counterparts.
One reason? Some shoppers still prefer to browse in-store, even if they close the deal online. Adobe found 47 percent of consumers anticipate exhibiting that behavior.
When it comes to how shoppers intend to close the deal, the general trend toward mobile continues, according to Deloitte’s annual Holiday Survey of 4,036 U.S. consumers. While 76 percent of survey respondents plan to shop on their desktops and laptops this year, that’s down from 83 percent last year. Meanwhile, tablet use is expected to remain flat at about 20 percent.
As for the latest shopping innovations, there are early adopters, but they represent a minuscule part of the overall pie. For instance, only 5 percent will use voice and an equal amount will shop via social.
No matter how they’re transacting online, one consideration is nearly universal: Shoppers refuse to pay for shipping. Deloitte found when given a choice, 88 percent of respondents would choose free delivery over getting their purchases sooner. In fact, 66 percent will wait up to three to seven days for their goods in order to get free shipping—which in today’s environment is practically a lifetime. And 47 percent will head to a store to avoid shipping costs.
But even the lure of sidestepping shipping fees won’t be enough incentive for some when it comes to the full-contact sport of Black Friday shopping this year. A survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by customer experience firm Genesys shows 37 percent of consumers plan to shop in-store on that day. Those opting to sit it out cited the crowds (67 percent) and the hassle (31 percent).
But Black Friday isn’t in danger of going extinct—it’s just evolving. In fact, Deloitte has found that more younger shoppers are planning to purchase on that day than older demographics. The consulting firm found just over half of Gen Z and millennials will shop that day and just over 60 percent of both groups will participate in Cyber Monday.