Make a list and check it twice: The importance of the holiday selling season

Posted by Dustin Peters on October 2, 2018

When October comes around and the Halloween ads begin, we’re forced to face the facts. The holiday season is coming. The holidays instill all manners of stress, but unique is the anxiety felt by young retail brands. Clearly the holiday season is an important time for retail, but what exactly does that mean? We at b8ta believe that the most important part of holiday prep is to appreciate the importance of the holiday season. Below are four retail stats that exemplify the vitality of checking your checklist twice while St. Nick is checking his.


25%—The percentage of annual sales that take place during November and December for many retailers.

While this percentage sounds plenty high, it’s actually only the median across retailers. In general, retailers can expect between 20–30% of yearly revenue to flow in during the holiday season, according to the National Retail Foundation.

This figure helps to contextualize the importance of the holiday season for retail. Is this number only so high because people naturally spend more around the holidays? Yes and no. True enough, people shop more during the holiday season, which unquestionably increases retail sales during this period. But this goes hand-in-hand with a second factor: Promotions. Promotions are a vital element in a successful holiday season, as shown in our next retail stat.


$335.47—The amount the average American shopper spent on Black Friday, 2017.

Black Friday has long marked the official kick-off of the holiday season for retail. Brands across the world run special sales during the 24 hour period, (a timeframe that has slowly become muddier in recent years). Whether you love or hate Black Friday personally, it’s a good idea for a retailer to understand the potential of the event. On a day when over 60% of American consumers go out seeking deals, it’s imperative for a retailer of any size to have great ones to offer.

This stat also reinforces something else. In terms of retail, the holiday season begins far earlier than you’d expect. In fact, the term “Black November” has become more and more popular as scores of retailers opt to begin their holiday promotions as early as November 1. The bottom line? It pays to be prepared for these holiday kick-off events. Literally! At b8ta we've designed our dashboard to allow our partners to easily test and run promotions in our stores. 


11.5%—The increase in online holiday sales from 2016 to 2017.

You’ve heard it before, while brick-and-mortar is still imperative, retailers absolutely must be utilizing online platforms in today’s tech-driven age. The holiday season is no exception. Cyber Monday is the internet’s response to Black Friday, and has become every bit as important of a day for retailers. But it isn’t just the Monday after Black Friday that’s important. Throughout the holiday season, we’ve seen a steady increase in online shopping. A brand must have their landing page ready, promotions advertised, and expect to see just as many online sales as in-store.


5.5%—The amount that total holiday retail sales increased from 2016 to 2017.

This figure is a double header. On one hand, it further exemplifies the opportunity the two-month holiday period presents. Sales are growing every year, and retailers must work to maximize this potential. On the other hand, it challenges the “retail apocalypse” notion. While e-commerce is ever increasing, it’s clear that in-store sales are steadily climbing as well. Online retail is an important element in a brand’s holiday playbook, but ample focus must still be devoted to brick and mortar sales as well.

It’s becoming more clear that in-store and ecommerce retail work best in unison rather than separately. A Practical Ecommerce survey found that over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday five day period, shoppers who both shopped online and in-store spent more. In fact, these shoppers spent an average of $49 and $82 more that those who went only in-store, or only online respectively.

The holidays are big and important, and this is only becoming more true year by year. Whether you’ve recently opened your doors or have been around for decades, adept and thoughtful handling of the holiday season is absolutely crucial for a retailer’s overall success. Clever, compelling promotions, a readiness for the big sales days, a strong online shopping experience—these are all things for brands to keep in mind as the holidays trudge closer. And remember, we at b8ta are always happy to help. The holidays don’t need to be dreaded!



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