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5 Key Holiday Shopping Trends for 2013

Plus Your Copy of Our Free Holiday Findings Report

Looking for that perfect gift for the eCommerce someone in your life? What’s better than the gift of solid holiday shopping metrics? Given the shortened shopping calendar and a boom in the sheer number of ways a consumer can now shop, 2013 is proving to be an interesting, if not redefining, holiday season.

So here at Yottaa, we crunched the numbers, and have highlighted a few of the key findings and trends for the 2013 shopping season, plus some insights into how businesses can improve in years to come.

1. Mobile and tablet revenue continues to grow


In 2013, revenue from the Thanksgiving holiday (the week starting from the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day through the following Tuesday, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday) revenue grew by 29.8% year over year, and traffic grew by 23.60%. Additionally, the average order size grew 7.5% year over year (YoY). These are huge numbers, highlighted the growth in online spending from various devices,

Mobile shopping is playing an increasingly important role in these metrics. Compared to 2012, mobile traffic (including smartphones and tablets) grew 77% and revenue grew 78%. At the same time, revenue from PC users shrank from 83.7% of all revenue in 2012 to 77.7% in 2013. Smart phone revenue almost doubled from 4.2% in 2012 to 7.1% in 2013, and tablet revenue grew from 12.1% to 15.3%.


The bigger picture: 
Online traffic and sales from mobile and tablets isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. This is even more proof that eCommerce sites especially need a mobile solution, such as a responsive site. As mobile-ready sites become the norm, mobile visitors will cease to use unoptimized sites in favor of the ones that meet their expectations.

2. Huge rise in mobile phone conversions 

Conversions are key for all online businesses, but for eCommerce sites, where conversion rate is most often defined as the rate at which site visitors make a purchase, it’s also a direct link to revenue. The change in eCommerce conversion rate YoY during the Thanksgiving holiday was a 3.2% increase on average.

The biggest change in conversion rate came from mobile devices, which saw a 52% increase in conversion rate YoY. Compare that growth against tablets, where the conversion rate was nearly stable (growing 2.6% — a smaller increase even than PC conversions). Impressive growth aside, conversion rate on phones is still clearly lower than both PC and tablets, indicating that there’s still a much higher barrier for consumers to clear before they decide buy on phones.

The bigger picture: Every additional second added on to your load time results in a 7% loss in conversions, so conversion rate suffers when a site isn’t optimized for user context. The growth in mobile reflects the fact that more eCommerce sites are creating mobile-specific web experiences; on the other hand, much work still needs to be done to convince tablet and phone visitors to complete purchases in-session. When engaged mobile visitors put off a purchase until they are on a PC, there’s always a chance they’ll never come back.

3. Tablet shopping is the next growth opportunity

Conversion rate on tablets increased only 2.6%, less than the 3.0% growth in conversion rate on PC, and far behind the 51.6% growth on smart phone. This is possibly a reflection of the fact that few eCommerce sites have a tablet-specific website. There are clear differences between the experience of browsing on a PC and a tablet, and each experience requires targeted design and features. Tablet use is on the rise, but desktop sites are still the norm, and mobile adoption gets much of the attention (it is still the “next big thing”).

The bigger picture: Each experience requires targeted design and features, and it seems vendors are lagging further behind on tablet than PC and mobile. Tablet shopping isn’t falling, but given the low growth numbers, now is the time to prepare. With more and more consumers browsing the web on tablets, optimizing their experience on your site will be key in 2014.

4. Web performance is not getting better

Though software and hardware are getting better, the complexity of websites, devices and last mile networks continues to grow. As a result, web performance is not getting better. In fact, Time to Display and Time to Interact, two key speed metrics, are 2.9% and 4.4% slower from 2012 to 2013.


The bigger picture: Web performance directly impacts user engagement and online revenue. Not only does your site need to be fast, it should also meet user expectations with just-in-time content and visitor-specific context optimizations. Investing in better performance is a straightforward way to boost online revenue, time on site, and conversion rate, and has been proven to show concrete improvements.

5. Shoppers are growing less patient

As consumers adapt to doing more of their shopping online, they are becoming smarter and less patient. Average bounce rate went up from 2012 to 2013 by 3.1% from 42.7% to 45.8%, and average pages per visit went down by 7.6%. Average time on site went down by 6.9% from 213.66 seconds in 2012 to 198.88 seconds in 2013.


Additionally, abandonment rate increased by 3.79%, from 61.59% in 2012 to 63.93% in 2013. With low time spent on-site and high bounce rates, it’s not surprising to see that shoppers who do proceed down a conversion road tend to abandon rather than completing a purchase.

There’s another reason: over 50% of the eCommerce shopping time this year was spent on mobile phones, but tablets have a higher conversion rate. Why? Phones and tablets both force the user to fully context switch when they move from app to app (unlike a desktop when you can see multiple windows at once), but people on a phone are most often distracted or impacted by external forces competing for their time and attention. So, users can be impatient, but they’re also browsing on the go, which gives you increasingly less time to get them to the conversion than ever before (stay tuned for an upcoming blog post examining this behavior!).

The bigger picture: Shoppers aren’t just looking for the best deal; they demand a positive experience to match. Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions won’t gain traction without a high-performing website as a backbone. Customer expectations for an online experience are growing rapidly, so now is the time for businesses to run ahead of them (or at least keep up).

Read the full report

In our full report, we dive into more data around revenue, eCommerce and marketing metrics, and device-specific results. We look at key findings around customer behavior and expectations. Download the report for more detailed charts and hard figures on the full set of 10 key user engagement metrics, including abandonment rate, time on site, bounce rate, and more.

You can access a complete version here!

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