When should retailers end their online promotions? Research reveals that orders drop after December 19th

More consumers are shopping closer to Christmas, but online sales drop off on 19th December

December 19th marks the beginning of the end for online Christmas shopping, according to CJ Affiliate’s Holiday Intelligence Report. While more consumers are shopping later in December, shoppers stop buying online from December 19th, heading in-store instead.

“Online shopping volumes typically drop by approximately 20% each day from the 19th December until Christmas Eve,” explained CJ Affiliate’s Regional Vice President, Jules Bazley. “It’s highly likely that this is due to shoppers getting nervous about shipping and delivery, and opting to do their last-minute buying in-store instead. This has a clear implication for online retailers – act now, then reduce online activity between the 19th and 24th of December, but be ready to catch the ‘splurge’ after Christmas.”

According to the research, online shopping volumes do increase steadily between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day as shoppers take advantage of greater spare time or buying missed ‘must have’ items – but then drops off until the New Year as the impact of present buying really hits bank accounts. This is in contrast to 2016, where consumers were ordering for Christmas delivery until the 21st December and continued to shop online for gift cards and subscriptions right up until Christmas Eve.

When it comes to the final lead up to Christmas, consumers are concerned about speed not price, with December deal initiatives, like free shipping day, failing to spike interest for consumers. Indeed, rather than inciting an increase in sales, free shipping day saw a decrease in overall sales in 2017. The week period including free shipping day also witnessed a four percent decrease in global revenue share, compared to the same time frame in 2016.

“Plenty of retailers offer free shipping as a given now, so promotions on the back of free shipping day this year would not be budget well spent. Instead, marketers should focus their attention on promoting services like express or next day delivery as well as gift cards and subscriptions. And for those marketers who are really feeling the Christmas pinch, with Boxing Day seeing little uplift in sales, from December 19th you can save that budget for those January sales,” concluded Bazley.