Online retailers were not hurt as much as traditional retailers during the Great Recession. And as the economy continues to recover, businesses in the online sector are looking for an improved holiday season this year. A recently published survey by Shop.org reinforces what similar surveys have found regarding shoppers and planned expenditures for 2010.
Here are the specific expectations of online retailers for the 2010 holiday shopping season:
- Hypergrowth of 75% or more: 6.4%
- Strong growth of 30–74%: 30.9%
- Good growth 15%-29%: 25.5%
- Fair growth 0–14%: 29.8%
- Flat or negative growth: 6.4%
With nearly 2/3rds of these businesses expecting good or better growth, holiday promotions have already begun. Online retailers are using a number of strategies to promote themselves and get the edge on the competition. One key strategy centers on shipping costs, a perennial concern of online shoppers.
- Free shipping offered at some point during the period: 84.8%
- Free shipping offered earlier than last year: 31.4%
- Increased budget for free shipping: 36.7%
Online retailers are also bumping up their social media investment this year. Nearly 3 out of 4 retailers have increased their Facebook investment. Over half are improving their customer ratings and review pages and 43.1% are upping their Twitter use for the holiday as well.
This flurry of activity is taking place as about 1/3rd of consumers plan to spend more online this season. Features that consumers find particularly appealing about online shopping include around the clock convenience, fast and easy price comparisons and no need to spend time in crowded malls.[Source: Majority of Online Retailers Expecting Strong Sales this Holiday Season, According to Shop.org Survey. Shop.org. 21 Oct. 2010. Web. 8 Nov. 2010]