2020 Holiday Shopping Season eCommerce Report
About This Report
When we at Namogoo recently sat down to analyze our clients’ eCommerce KPIs from the 2020 holiday shopping season, we had a different focus from previous years. After all, there was little about this season that was typical.
Although there’s nothing unusual about seeing a major increase in online sales in November and December, the numbers we saw in Q4 2020 were without precedent – continuing the trends that we’ve seen across the world of retail since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
This report uses the data that we gathered over the course of the fourth quarter of 2020 to shed light on key trends in consumers’ shopping habits and what they mean for retailers. In the following pages, you will find the results of our analysis of this data – including both hard numbers and actionable insights on how to adapt to retail trends in the coronavirus era and beyond.
As the global leader in Customer Hijacking Prevention, Namogoo analyzes over 20 billion pageviews per week. The findings in this report are based on our analysis of these sessions.
We gathered this data to answer some of the most important questions for businesses that rely on eCommerce, including:
- How did this past year’s holiday season eCommerce results compare to 2019?
- With 2020 online sales skyrocketing in many industries, did the holiday shopping season see eCommerce KPIs rise even further?
- How did mobile and desktop devices fare head-to-head for both traffic and conversions?
- Which industries saw their online sales benefit the most from the holiday shopping season?
- How did Customer Journey Hijacking affect online sales during Q4 of 2020, and how much revenue did retailers gain by preventing unauthorized ad injections?
Q4 2020 Ecommerce Sales Dwarf Those in Q3
Q4 2020 netted 2.4 times the number of online sales than Q3, and 2.7 times the sales in Q4 2019.
Purchases on Mobile Eclipse Desktop for First Time
54.7% of online sales were made from mobile devices Q4 2020, up from 48.8% in Q4 2019.
COVID-19 Drives Holiday Shopping Priorities in 2020
Online supermarkets more than tripled year-over-year sales in Q4 2020, while homeware and health and beauty retail sites saw eCommerce purchases lift by over 2.5 times.
1 in 5 eCommerce Customer Journeys Were Hijacked
Almost 24% of all online shopping sessions on desktop were subjected to unauthorized ad injections in Q4 2020, which also appeared to nearly 18% of mobile visitor sessions.
Conversion Rates for Hijacked Customers More Than Double the Rest
The most promising shoppers are targeted by injected competitor ads. Retailers removing these ads saw these visitors convert at almost 2.5 times the rate of the rest of their visitors.
Checkout Abandonment Rates Fall After Eliminating Injected Ads
Visitors previously exposed to ad injections abandoned checkout 19.2% less often when disruptions were removed at the end of the sales funnel.
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eCommerce Traffic & Sales Reach Historic Heights in Q4 2020
Across all industries, eCommerce traffic and sales saw unprecedented growth during the peak fourth quarter of 2020. Visits increased by over 144% year over year (YoY), and conversions jumped by over 171% over the same period in 2019, an even greater increase than the 124% increase in conversions in Q4 over Q3. With eCommerce spending at all-time highs in 2020, it’s not surprising that over 30% less shoppers abandoned their carts at checkout this past holiday season when compared to Q4 2019.
Looking at how shoppers responded to the Q4 holiday season, online conversion lifted dramatically during this peak period — but Checkout Abandonment Rates in Q4 2020 were actually 9.8% higher than in Q3. With so much of the surge in traffic coming from first-time online shoppers, this may indicate that while traffic and sales are up for eCommerce retailers, they are still struggling to optimize the experience for these shoppers, who are more price-sensitive and less loyal than average.
Winning Industries Reflect the Impact of COVID-19
Industries offering essentials in the COVID-19 era saw record rises in online sales in Q4 2020 over the previous year, with online supermarkets leading the way, more than tripling conversions year-over-year (YoY), followed by homeware and health and beauty retail sites, who also gained over 2.5 times the online sales generated in Q4 2019.
During the 2020 holiday shopping season, footwear retailers saw the biggest increase in online sales in Q4 when compared to the previous quarter, followed by apparel and fashion retail sites.
2020 Holiday Shoppers More Mobile Than Ever
We’ve been tracking the rise of mobile shopping each year — and in Q4 2020 it eclipsed PCs for the very first time. 54.7% of eCommerce conversions last quarter came from mobile compared to 48.8% in Q4 2019, showing that consumers are increasingly comfortable making their purchases from their smartphones or tablets, and stressing the importance of optimizing the mobile customer journey.
Customer Journey Hijacking: The Impact on eCommerce
After all the time and money eCommerce companies invest in crafting the ideal customer journey, many online shoppers have a very different experience from the intended one. Instead, they’re exposed to unauthorized ads that have been secretly injected into their browsers and devices — designed specifically to divert them away to other sites.
Known as Customer Journey Hijacking, this widespread consumer-side problem impacts 15-25% of all eCommerce website visitors throughout the year, who are exposed to competitor ads, pop ups, banners and UI redirects that undermine retailers’ customer journey investments and cost them millions in revenue each year.
The majority of these injected ads — 60% to 65% — promote products sold by competing stores. Namogoo recovers these hijacked customer journeys for online enterprises by preventing Customer Journey Hijacking.
We monitor conversion rates and other key eCommerce KPIs year-round, both among recovered visitors (visitor sessions previously impacted by ad injections blocked by Namogoo’s solution) and for unaffected visitors (Visitor sessions not impacted by unauthorized ad injections).
Customer Journey Hijacking During the Holiday Shopping Season
During the 2020 holiday shopping season, nearly one out of every five visitor sessions was impacted by Customer Journey Hijacking. Looking at our customer session data across all industries, the number of hijacked visits exposed to ad injections in Q4 2020 more than doubled year-over-year, increasing by 139%.
On both desktop and mobile, hijacking rates increased throughout the year, and were highest during the peak Q4 holiday shopping period, illustrating the importance of keeping the customer journey free of these disruptions.
Industries Most Impacted by Customer Journey Hijacking
All major retail industries were significantly impacted by ad injections designed to skim away their online customers during Q4 2020, with industry hijacking rates ranging from 18%-25%.
During the holiday season, electronics and health and beauty retailers had the highest hijacking rates at 25.4% and 24.6% respectively, followed by footwear sites at 22.9%.
Holiday Season Conversion Rates for Recovered Visitors
Online retailers preventing Customer Journey Hijacking consistently see that their recovered visitor segment converts far higher than the rest of their traffic after blocking injected competitor ads with Namogoo’s solution. Behavior data on these customers shows that they are more online savvy and engaged than average, and therefore are more likely to download free browser extensions, apps, and other software that comes bundled with ad injections.
When looking at the impact on eCommerce KPIs in Q4 2020, retail sites across industries removing these disruptions from their customers’ journey saw recovered visitor sessions convert 149% higher than sessions that were not exposed to unauthorized ads.
The Impact to Online Revenue
With Customer Journey Hijacking impacting such a high-converting visitor segment, how much revenue is it costing online retailers?
In Q4 2020 alone, our client data shows that retailers preventing consumer-side ad injections from undermining their customer journey recovered just over $480 million in revenue that would have been leaked by these unwanted disruptions.
That kind of swing in online revenue emphasizes just how damaging an impact these ad injections have on retailers’ bottom lines — and how much they can gain from eliminating them for their most engaged customers.
Competition for the loyalty of online shoppers’ climbed to historic heights in 2020 and will continue to do so in 2021. Removing distractions from the optimal customer journey will therefore be just as critical this year.
Checkout Abandonment Rates Fall With Disruptions Removed
Industry-wide, retail sites saw holiday season Checkout Abandonment Rates for recovered visitors average 19.2% less than the rest of their traffic, demonstrating the impact of protecting the customer journey at the end of the sales funnel.
In this report, we examined the impact of the 2020 holiday shopping season on eCommerce. We were especially interested in year-end sales trends in light of the major increases in eCommerce that had resulted from COVID-19 since early in the year.
Unsurprisingly, sales surged industry-wide in Q4 2020 — but that is only part of the story. Comparing the eCommerce results from the 2020 holiday shopping season with those from 2019, we found a great deal of variation between industries. Massive increases in online shopping since the start of the pandemic, and Amazon’s re-scheduling of Prime Day to mid-October helped create a longer and shallower peak holiday shopping period in 2020 — which may explain why some industries more than doubled their online sales, while others saw more modest increases.
We also found that as online sales increased during the holiday shopping season, so did the cost of Customer Journey Hijacking. This was not surprising, as we typically see that traffic hijackers are especially active during peak shopping periods such as the holiday shopping season. But, following a year that saw so many consumers start making purchases online for the first time, the damage caused by unauthorized ad injections is long-term, depriving them of the chance to build customer loyalty – especially given the price sensitivity of today’s consumers.
With retailers preventing these disruptions this past holiday season directly increasing online revenue by over $480 million, the immediate benefit is dramatic. But keeping these customers on-site and ensuring they receive a seamless and distraction-free experience also pays dividends well into the future, helping to boost Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
That way, retailers can set themselves up for success in 2021 by driving their customer journeys forward, allowing both them and their customers to meet their ultimate goals.