Now that the holiday fervor has ended and the New Year’s Eve
confetti settled, we’re taking a long look at Q4 2012, how it compared to Q4
2011, and what takeaways we can apply to 2013.
For context, 2011 saw an aggressive “Christmas Creep” with
sales growth elevating in early November and holding pretty steady through
December. According to comScore, 2011
holiday sales were up 15%, right in line with its prediction. ChannelAdvisor customers achieved overall
growth of 23% in 2011, exceeding the industry as a whole.
ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo pointed out an interesting trend in 2012; for the
first time since we’ve begun tracking holiday data we had a “U-Shaped”
While we don’t report on category data, when we piece
together our same-store sales reports through the holiday, we saw an
interesting “U” shape that had three parts:
1. Early surge – Driven by Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday
(what we call the Cyber Five) promos and early-shopping consumers, we saw an early surge in sales.
2. A mid-December lull – From around Dec 7 – 18 it was
unusually quiet this year, which many speculated was due to the looming fiscal
cliff and tragic news stories.
3. Procrastinator pop – From Dec 19-22 we saw an interesting
pop in orders that we haven’t seen as pronounced in past years.
When you put those three together, you get an interesting U
shape. Scot suggests the procrastinator pop
shows that people really trust e-commerce shipments/delivery more than they
ever have in the past – as narrow as 1-2 days.
Past holidays had more of a down to the right type shape, so
this year the dip and the procrastinator pop at the end were new trends.
Lesson Learned: It
ain’t over till it’s over. And even then, it may not be over.