Study: E-tailers Optimistic About Holiday 2014

According to ChannelAdvisor's Multichannel E-Commerce Study, 86 percent of surveyed retailers expect to increase their year-over-year online holiday sales in 2014.

ChannelAdvisor commissioned Redshift Research to conduct the Multichannel E-Commerce Study, which surveyed more than 200 online retailers in the U.S. and U.K. that averaged $3 million to $5 million in revenue in 2013. The holiday portion of the study was intended to identify retailers' expectations for the 2014 holiday season and the strategies they're using to maximize their holiday sales.

"The holiday shopping season is what retailers look forward to and plan for all year long," said Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor CEO. "Thanksgiving falls during the last week of November again this year, and Cyber Monday will be in December. This compresses the amount of time that consumers have to shop for their friends and family, and changes the game for online retailers trying to capture the wallets of as many shoppers as possible. As we suspected, our survey confirms that retailers are planning to begin their holiday promotions early and to focus on customer service features to help increase sales."

Key holiday findings from the Multichannel E-Commerce Study include:
  • Retailers expect a successful holiday season: More than a quarter of surveyed retailers (27 percent) expect an 11 to 15 percent increase in holiday sales this year compared with 2013, and nearly half (46 percent) expect an increase between 1 and 10 percent. No retailers reported an expected decrease in holiday sales this year.
  • Holiday promotions are starting early: Nearly half of surveyed retailers (42 percent) planned to begin their holiday push in September, and 20 percent planned to begin their holiday push in August or sooner. Almost a quarter (23 percent) of retailers planned to start their holiday marketing push earlier this year compared with previous years.
  • Customer service features are important for driving sales: Almost half of the retailers surveyed (41 percent) plan to offer free shipping and returns as a strategy to increase holiday sales this year. One-third of retailers surveyed plan to stock more quantity. Retailers named free shipping as the most successful service feature for generating a higher level of customer satisfaction. Most retailers (67 percent) said they have seen increased sales from offering these customer service features.
  • Retailers are embracing trends, including digital marketing: More than a quarter of surveyed retailers (27 percent) plan to increase their overall digital marketing and advertising budgets as a strategy to increase holiday sales this year. A quarter of surveyed retailers plan to launch new digital marketing initiatives to increase holiday sales this year. Offering discounts for select products was a strategy that 27 percent of surveyed retailers said they would use to increase holiday sales in 2014.
Research was conducted using an email invitation and an online survey. All survey respondents were e-commerce decision makers for their respective companies.
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