As the hours wind down on retailers’ seasonal strategies, Amazon is unleashing its latest assault on brick-and-mortar stores: Starting this weekend, it says it plans to unveil new Black Friday deals every 10 minutes, all promising “Big savings. No waiting.” It’s tossing in free shipping on millions of items, including popular toys and consumer electronics, and free two-day shipping on 15 million items for those with Amazon Prime. That move, combined with Walmart’s announcement early this week that is already extending its Price Match offers to Walmart.com, has some industry observers expecting extra-strong e-commerce sales this holiday selling season, despite gloomy predictions regarding consumer spending.
“The biggest overarching story line for this holiday selling season is that we have a very compressed selling schedule,” says Andrew Lipsman, VP of marketing and insights for comScore. “There are only 26 days in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, not 32. For online shopping, that means there are only three weeks, in effect, not four. As a result, we’re expecting to see some extra pop, especially on key promotional days.”
While comScore plans to make its official forecast next week, it’s preliminary estimates call for a 13 to 15% gain in desktop e-commerce, and a 14 to 17% gain in m-commerce. It predicts CyberMonday will be the heaviest online spending day in history, with desktop spending reaching $1.8 billion, a 20% gain over the same day a year ago.
And while it’s not clear if this year will break last year’s record of 12 separate $1 billion-plus says, “we think there will be at least one Monday-to-Friday work week this year that is headlined by five $1 billion-plus days.”
And as more experts note the looming importance of Super Saturday -- the Saturday before Christmas -- comScore also predicts “that late-season shopping will prevail, with 25% of buying happening Dec. 15 or later.”
He tells Marketing Daily that Amazon is well positioned to become every online shopper’s favorite retailer. “Amazon continues to fire on all cylinders, and are on top of key trends. This promotion is another way to give consumers something new to think about, to help them win mindshare early in the season.”
But he says the increasing channel agility of brick-and-mortar stores are also boosting sales. Gap, for instance, just revealed it will make its Reserve in Store feature available in many of its Gap and Banana Republic stores. Such store-pickup options continue to build sales, he says. “Online buying is driven by two critical factors -- price and convenience. It serves both, because it’s convenient to order online, and by picking items up in stores, you save on shipping.”