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Shopping Holidays

Online holiday sales continue to lag in wake of strong Cyber Week

by Ken Cassar - May 16, 2019

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Welcome back to your weekly installment of Holiday 2018 online data from your favorite online data provider, Rakuten Intelligence (indulge us, this is free data!). Unfortunately, the news this week isn’t as positive as what we’d seen in the early part of the holiday season as online holiday sales were up 22 percent between November 1st and December 8th, down a point from last week’s reporting, reflecting a relative softening of sales following Cyber Monday.  

The holiday season is really three races in one. We have the period before Thanksgiving (November 1 – 21), Cyber Week (November 22 – 28), and the final leg (November 29 – December 25). Looking at these period’s average daily sales this year, the pre-Thanksgiving period was up 25 percent in average daily sales, the Cyber Week period was up 23 percent, and the period between November 29th(the Tuesday after Cyber Monday) and December 8thwas only up 15 percent.

There are still many days remaining in the holiday shopping season for retailers to turn the final leg from an anemic (by online standards) lope into a respectable finish. If this happens, it will be because online shoppers increasingly trust retailers to make tight delivery timelines, and because shoppers continue to shift from having packages delivered to getting their packages through click & carry. 


Both of these are highly plausible based on what we’ve seen so far this holiday season, which brings us to our first holiday 2018 installment of fulfillment data:


When we track delivery speeds for the holiday season, the news is very good for both retailers and consumers. Packages are reaching consumers far quicker than we’ve seen in the past – for orders placed during week 47 of 2018 (11/19 – 11/25, including Thanksgiving and Black Friday) consumers, on average, received their orders in 5.0 days, down from 5.5 days during the same week in 2017. For retailers, the good news is that this improvement is coming mostly from fulfillment center turnaround time (2.0 days in 2017 to 1.7 days in 2018, on average, across all merchants) and less from expensive improvements in delivery time (3.5 days in 2017 to 3.4 days in 2018). Historically, the improvements that consumers have enjoyed in ‘click-to-door’ speed (the time from clicking “buy” to delivery) have come almost exclusively from quicker delivery so faster turnaround times are a welcomed sight for retailer’s pocket books. 


With a relatively soft Cyber Monday sales week(week 48, which ran from 11/26 – 12/2 in 2018) consumers benefitted from quicker package delivery. During week 47, packages took 5.0 days this year, compared with just 4.6 days in week 48.  


Amazon still maintains a significant lead on the rest of the pack when it comes to click-to-door speed as Amazon’s click-to-door speed was 3.6 days in week 47, compared with 6.3 days for all merchants excluding Amazon.


Stay tuned for more holiday data and insights you can dazzle your friends and family with over eggnog and turkey. Happy Holidays.

About this data

With a panel of over 5.5 million online shoppers, Rakuten Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Rakuten Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Rakuten Intelligence can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Rakuten Intelligence gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time, which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Rakuten Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.