Despite concerns that the economy remains soft, US consumers displayed a healthy appetite for goods over the holiday retail season. According to the National Retail Federation, total holiday retail sales in 2013 increased by 3.8% year over year for a total of $601.8 billion. But ecommerce holiday sales saw an even sharper growth rate of 9.3%, with sales totaling $95.7 billion.
Ecommerce analytics company Custora also reported significant ecommerce growth over the 2013 holiday shopping season. Revenues over the two-month period from the beginning of November to the end of December climbed 12% year over year, according to the company. Black Friday and Cyber Monday both also saw impressive increases in revenues, climbing 16% and 18%, respectively. In addition, the number of total orders increased during all three of these time periods compared with the previous year.
Holiday season ecommerce conversion rates also saw a leap between 2012 and 2013, most dramatically on Cyber Monday, when they increased from 3.3% to 3.8%, according to Custora. Black Friday conversions saw a bump from 2.7% to 3.1%. However, the overall increase was somewhat marginal, with a difference of just 0.1 percentage point between 2012 and 2013.
Custora also found that organic marketing channels were the most successful in generating digital purchases, accounting for 26% of them. Direct marketing via digital channels was nearly as effective, generating one-quarter of sales over the holiday period. At the other end, both social media and display advertising translated to paltry sales, accounting for just 2% and 1%, respectively.