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Lessons from 2018 holiday season: Hitwise

With the holiday season fast approaching, consumer insights firm Hitwise has put forward its learnings from last year’s festivities for retailers to take onboard.

According to Hitwise, December was a weaker month than November, with events like Black Friday, Click Frenzy and Cyber Monday outpacing Christmas and Boxing Day purchases online. 

November enjoyed the highest online spending at $27 billion, though turnover in October saw the largest growth of any month in the holiday period at 3.5 per cent year on year. 

“December’s weaker performance combined with October’s growth indicates that consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier,” Hitwise said. 

Source: Hitwise.

This lines up with comments by KPMG head of retail Matt Darby, who told Internet Retailing the holiday period was shifting. 

“It’s fair to say that the peak shopping period has now moved, and that the peak period is now actually probably toward the end of November,” Darby said.

“It’s not that Christmas is dropping off – it’s still very much a key part of our social and shopping calendar – but I think the effect that Black Friday has had is that it has moved a lot of the planned purchases sooner.”

According to Hitwise, though November is now the bigger month for sales, Boxing Day is still the largest shopping day for Australian retailers, with 58.1 million purchases made on the holiday last year.

Both Boxing Day and Black Friday had the largest growth in activity year over year at 7.5 per cent. Cyber Monday saw 5.4 per cent growth, while the second day of Click Frenzy saw 4.3 per cent growth. 

The first day saw a 5 per cent decrease in traffic year over year, though this still equated to an 84 per cent increase over the week prior. 

Source: HItwise.

“Click Frenzy marks the start of peak holiday shopping for Australians, and it was a huge success for retailers in 2018,” Hitwise said. 

In terms of specific sites, Amazon Australia grew the fastest “by far”, with traffic growing 88 per cent over 2018 – though this can also be attributed to more Australians transitioning from the international site to the local site.

EBay generated more than four times Amazon’s traffic, however.

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