E-Commerce Website Holiday Statistics from 2017 to Inform Your Holiday Prep

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

By all accounts, the 2017 holiday shopping season was a record-breaking one for e-commerce websites. From record overall sales to never-before-seen boons for small businesses, it seems that almost everyone had a chance to benefit from people’s growing love of shopping online.

Since it is now that time (or, actually, past time) to begin prepping for this year’s holiday shopping bonanza, it might also be time to revisit those amazing 2017 statistics. In case getting your e-commerce website ready for this year’s holiday shopping season feels a bit overwhelming, here are a few of the biggest facts from last year to help get you motivated.

2017 outstripped all other recent years in terms of online e-commerce website purchases.

E-commerce website purchases have been growing year over year since at least 2010. However, 2017 was the biggest year yet in terms of the overall money consumers spent online. In total, consumers spent more than $108 billion in online retail purchases between November and December 2017, according to Adobe, and more than $138 billion according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). These numbers not only broke records for all-time online holiday expenditures, but they even outstripped the NRF’s predictions for 2017.

What can e-commerce website owners gather from these record-breaking numbers? The primary lesson is that online shopping is only going to continue to grow. Holiday spending in 2018 is likely to break 2017’s spending records by more than 16 percent, and that means that there are literally billions of dollars up for grabs from holiday shoppers. Online retailers and businesses need to start taking advantage of those sales now with impactful web design, a strong infrastructure, and meaningful sales to draw customers in.

Mobile purchases grew exponentially on e-commerce websites.

Shopping on e-commerce websites in 2017 did not just take place on computers. Instead, the increasing popularity of mobile devices translated into greater holiday shopping activity on smartphones as well.

In fact, throughout November and December, about 56 percent of all online retail activity took place on mobile devices. This activity translated into a third of the total value of purchases occurring through mobile devices, with some days, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, logging 50 percent of their e-commerce website purchases through mobile devices.

For owners of e-commerce websites, it is clear that creating web design and web development intended for mobile devices is of paramount importance in maximizing the amount of online customer interaction you enjoy. Begin with a responsive web design, and from there create a message, look, and feel designed to cater specifically to the needs of individuals using mobile devices.

Total value of purchases grew significantly in 2017.

The overall amount of money spent on online purchases during the 2017 holiday season is an impressive sign in and of itself of consumer confidence in online shopping. However, perhaps even more telling is the increase in average amount spent per purchase. In 2017, this number was 20 percent higher than 2016.

As a result, it is clear that consumers are becoming increasingly trusting of online purchases. Thanks to this confidence, they are willing to make bigger purchases with e-commerce websites. For owners of e-commerce websites, this confidence is good news. With proper planning and web development, online retailers can take advantage of consumer confidence to create a truly profitable holiday season.

Online search was a primary driver of e-commerce website purchases.

When consumers want to find the perfect  holiday gift, they often turn to online search to find what they need. At least, that is what occurred in 2017, when almost 45 percent of all online visits came from either paid or organic search.

This statistic is important for online retailers because it gives them a clue to how they should be reaching potential customers this holiday season. In place of more traditional advertising campaigns, they may wish to engage in sharpening their SEO campaigns and starting or increasing their paid search campaigns. By doing so, they are focusing on the avenues that their consumers are using to find businesses and products for the holiday season.

Purchasers were active throughout November and December.

When retailers think about holiday shopping, they may immediately think about the biggest revenue producers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM). However, in today’s digital world, consumers are showing an interest in shopping all of November (and December). While BFCM certainly brings in record amounts of revenue, the reality is that in the two months of November and December 2017, at least $1 billion of purchases were made every single day.

In light of consumers’ steady interest in spending throughout the holiday season, it becomes even more important for e-commerce websites to make purchasing from them appealing for both November and December. Otherwise, they risk missing out on major opportunities to make profits from motivated buyers. As a result, businesses that can position themselves to offer shipping, sales, and other appealing features throughout the holiday season stand a greater chance of earning strong profits for their efforts.

Last Year’s statistics give retailers insights into the future of online holiday purchases, and clues about what approaches will work best this year. With record breaking purchases, an uptick in the use of mobile devices, increases in the total value of purchases, the effectiveness of online search, and the consistent activity of consumers throughout November and December, it is clear that e-commerce websitesare well positioned to succeed in 2018 as well.

If you need help preparing your site for the holiday season, do not hesitate to reach out to WEBii. We can provide customized and professional services designed to equip your site to thrive during the holidays.


Writer, WEBii


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