Profitero Blog
Countdown to Cyber Five, Part 2: Which retailers will ‘sleigh’ this holiday season?

With November upon us, holiday shopping will soon be kicking into high gear.

In our previous edition of Countdown to Cyber Five, we shared that almost half (45%) of U.S. shoppers had already started their holiday shopping by October, with another 27% set to start in November. Now the question becomes: Which retailers will find themselves on consumers’ “nice” lists this year?

Profitero surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers in late October 2019 to get a read on which retailers could win this holiday. Additionally, we analyzed U.S. retailer online pricing heading into the holiday season. Here’s what we found:

1. Shoppers say ‘bah humbug’ to shopping around

eCommerce competition will be especially tough this season. Our latest survey finds that 70% of U.S. consumers plan to shop fewer than five online retailers this holiday, with 41% saying they’ll only be shopping one or two.

This means that brands must make sure they’re present on and aligned with the big “mass” online players — i.e., Amazon, Walmart or Target. They may be the only ones that matter this holiday season.

Holiday 2019_Number of online retailers

2. Amazon will be the dominant holiday destination

  • 70% of consumers plan to shop at Amazon this holiday season, beating out other major U.S. retailers. Walmart comes in second, not too far behind Amazon, with 62% of consumers planning to shop the retailer during the holidays. Target looks like it will hold its own this season, with 42% of consumers planning to shop there.

Holiday 2019_Retailers plan to shop

  • 44% say Amazon is where they’ll shop the most this holiday. The next closest retailer is Walmart, with 25% of U.S. shoppers giving it the nod for most of their holiday shopping.

Holiday 2019_Retailers plan to shop MOST

  • 42% of shoppers typically start their holiday shopping on Amazon, topping the list of shopping methods we asked about in the survey. This speaks to Amazon’s dominant position as both a gift-shopping venue, as well as a go-to site for initial product research (e.g., ratings & reviews, etc.).

Holiday 2019_Where start shopping

  • Amazon will be a top go-to gift destination for electronics, toys & games, apparel, and home goods & furniture. (To see what electronics brands could score big this holiday, view our Electronics Online All Stars report.)

Holiday 2019_Categories plan to shop on Amazon

3. Holiday price wars bring good tidings to consumers, not brands

Similar to previous holiday seasons (and other big online promotional events like Prime Day), retailers will be locked in an arms race, monitoring each other’s pricing, and dynamically repricing to win sales and retain market share.

So far, the early pricing lead goes to Amazon. Our latest Price Wars study (comparing daily prices on 12,500 products across 20 retailers from July to September 2019) found Amazon’s prices to be 20% cheaper, on average, than other online retailers. Walmart.com was the next most competitive among retailers studied, with prices averaging 4.1% higher than Amazon’s. The price gap between Amazon and Target.com was more substantial at 10.6% higher.

While holiday price wars are great for consumers, they bring anxiety to brands who are already feeling the pinch of tariffs. For brands, the trick is implementing viable and actionable solutions that can maximize a product’s Average Selling Price and optimize item-level profitability to avoid a race to the bottom, while ensuring MAP policies across retailers and 3rd party distributors are enforced.

Wrapping up …

With Amazon playing such a huge role in holiday shopping plans, it’s imperative that brands be prepared with promotions, search strategies and perfect digital shelves. While your Amazon holiday promotions are probably already locked and loaded, there are still some actions you can take to help ensure your plans are on target to maximize volume and profitability this holiday season.

Near-perfect digital shelf execution is one of the best ways to convert holiday browsers into buyers. This means making sure your online product content is perfect, there are enough reviews, and stock availability is in good shape.

Each selling day from here on out is critical, so you really don’t want to leave things to chance. eCommerce performance analytics companies, like Profitero, can deliver alerts on a daily basis that can notify brands of execution-oriented “misses” like incorrect product content, a drop in search position or out-of-stocks. Having this kind of real-time intelligence in place could be a lifesaver during the holiday season to avoid missing out on sales. Request your demo today.