Remember that good old, predictable Christmas sales curve you’ve built your forecasting around for the last five to ten years? Amazon has changed it for good. The old belief was if you didn’t have a huge Black Friday, you’re doomed for the holidays.
Used to be, Black Friday was the biggest shopping day of the year. Then Cyber Monday swooped in and changed all that. But for Amazon, online sales now peak the last few days before Prime 2-Day shipping window closes (likely the 21st this year!)
Because of Amazon Prime’s 2-day shipping, consumers can comfortably purchase holiday items much later than ever before. According to Slice Intelligence, Amazon started out with a 25% share of online sales on Black Friday, a figure which increased in a fairly linear fashion until it peaked on Dec. 18, (47.8%), Dec. 19 (49.2%), and Dec. 20 (48.2%). Yeoman’s clients who sell on Amazon experienced a similar phenomenon.
I’ll admit that I’m one of these shoppers. Overcome with anxiety that I had not purchased quite enough presents, I logged into my Prime account in a panic on the 19th and ordered four or five gifts I never would have bought if I’d had to brave the mall.
HOWEVER, the ‘trend up’ during the holidays is unique to Amazon. The Yeoman team analyzed several hundred top retailer ecommerce sites during this season and found their trendline remains the same as prior years; peaking Black Friday through the first week of the season, then dropping off afterwards. Amazon stands alone as the sole player that was consistently increasing revenue as the holiday shopping season progressed.
So, how do you deal with the shifting curve of customer shopping habits and snag last minute sales from shoppers like me? If you’re already on Amazon, you’ll want to take a careful look at inventory planning for the holiday season. Plus, don’t panic if your BF/CM sales start off slow; Amazon’s peak comes very late.
Your site (and your retail partners’ sites) need to seriously rethink their shipping rules and cutoff timing if you’re going to attract buyers (and DON’T call them last minute shoppers any more) For manufacturers, you need to seriously rethink your Amazon plan – making sure you have stock on both the merchant and vendor side of Amazon. Need some help? Just give Yeoman a call. It’s what we do.