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Plotting the Timing of Holiday Shopping Sales

November and December account for over 20% of total annual revenue for retailers. And on average, these holiday shopping months bring in 30% more revenue than non-holiday months. But that’s part of a downward trend, research firm RJMetrics reminded merchants.

Holiday revenue is largely driven by a few categories that are “holiday-sensitive,” it explains in a report that was designed to help gauge how important the holiday shopping season is for retailers.

November is only a month away (October arrives this week!). And while the start of November shows a slight uptick in revenue, it’s the period from Black Friday through Christmas where sales really pick up, according to RJMetrics. These shopping days pull in 50-100% more revenue than shopping days during all other times of the year.

The top two most holiday-sensitive segments were Apparel/Accessories and Computers/Electronics, its research showed.

The lesson for merchants: “Not all segments within online retail are impacted the same way by the holiday season. Before jumping into the holiday fray of advertising and email-overload, retailers should measure their own holiday sensitivity against these benchmarks to determine how important the holiday season is to their top line.”

Another key finding for online merchants: Cyber Monday is important no matter what the industry. And in 2014, online shoppers treated Black Friday and Cyber Monday almost exactly the same.

The bottom line: changes in buying habits and ecommerce practices are eroding traditional industry assumptions about how the holidays are “supposed to” work.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.