Holiday Sales Up 3.6 to 4% Forecasts NRF

According to the National Retail Federation Holiday report 2017 was a relatively strong year for holiday sales, buoyed by strong employment and higher consumer confidence. Holiday sales during November and December of 2017 increased by 5.5% year-over-year, the largest increase since 2010. Similarly, eMarketer reported that retail ecommerce grew by 17.8% in 2017, demonstrating that retail continues to undergo significant changes affected by shifts in consumer behaviors and preferences.

With analysts estimating a more modest growth for the 2018 holiday season (15.3% increase in retail ecommerce and a total retail holiday sales growth of 3.8%), and the ongoing shifts in the retail landscape, it is more important than ever for brands to make the most of their holiday planning. To help marketers understand and identify opportunities and trends, Yes Lifecycle Marketing analyzed almost 8 billion emails sent in Q4 2017 through its Yesmail360i platform.  

In addition to analyzing standard email metrics like engagement and conversion rates, YES looked at the day of the week performance and types of offers promoted in the subject line to determine the effectiveness of holiday-themed messages and see how timing and incentives affected engagement.

Key Findings Quick Definitions in this report examined the adoption rate of different Q4 holidays in marketers’ messages, compared the performance of each holiday listed above, and illustrated best practices with creative examples from top performers and provide tips for the 2018 holiday season.

  • In Q4 2017, holiday-themed emails generated lower open rates than standard messages. Despite lower engagement, themed emails that featured 5 out of 9 events identified, generated higher conversion rates than standard emails.
  • 2017 was a good year for marketers who capitalized on Cyber Monday. Despite the fact that nearly a third of brands sent messages around this event, the conversion rates for Cyber Monday were the highest from all holidays. (Conversion rate is defined as the ratio of unique email clicks to purchases) 
  • Business as Usual (BAU)/Standard Messages: For the purposes of this report, BAU emails (also referred to as standard emails) are marketing messages that do not have a holiday theme and are not part of a triggered program (e.g. welcome, reactivation, transactional, birthday, etc.)



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