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By the numbers: Top pre-holiday findings from's eHoliday survey

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It’s always a great pleasure – if also something of a “how time flies” shock – to release the annual eHoliday pre-holiday findings to members. Produced in partnership with BIGinsight, the pre-holiday consumer and retailer pre-holiday survey findings are a veritable treasure trove of insights about the upcoming holiday season, spanning the outlook for consumer spending, retailer expectations for the season, merchandising and site feature that retailers have invested in this year, marketing and promotions, and more.

Clearly, it’s impossible to summarize our findings in just a few paragraphs, so I thought I’d share a few things we learned from the study to provide a glimpse into the season ahead. I’ll continue to share select highlights over the coming weeks as the season progresses.

  • Almost half of retailers surveyed anticipate year over year online revenue growth of 25% or more for the holiday season.
  • Top investments that retailers have made this year to foster that growth: mobile optimized websites (54.7%), Facebook page (52.8%), and cross-selling on the product page (49.1%). Additionally, 43.4% have invested in their Pinterest boards.
  • In addition to spending on gifts for others, food, decorations and more to celebrate the holidays, self-gifting is big again this year: 3 out of 5 online shoppers also plan to spend on themselves – to the tune of $167.91 (net average spend).
  • What would two-thirds of online holiday shoppers most like to receive for themselves? Gift cards.
  • If you think discounts are the only thing that’s important to holiday shoppers, guess again. Online holiday shoppers tell us that when they choose to business with one retailer versus another, the most important factors are: 1. Seeing the shopping cart total before check out. 2. Guaranteed on time delivery. 3. Value for money and good deals. 4. Clear product descriptions. 5. Free return shipping offer or policy.
  • Online holiday marketing and promotion campaigns are starting somewhat earlier this year than last – perhaps a good thing, as 2 out of 5 online holiday shoppers have already started their holiday shopping by now and presumably are primed for those messages.
  • That said, 2 out of 5 retailers surveyed will hold off until November to offer their first free shipping offers.
  • Coming soon to a mobile device near you: mobile marketing!  Approximately 1 in 3 retailers expect to use mobile paid search campaigns & mobile email optimization to communicate with customers, among other vehicles.
  • And finally - 1.2% of holiday shoppers say they’ve already finished their holiday shopping (I have no insight into how one becomes that organized…)

There is much more to learn in the full pre-holiday study results, available now for members to download.

Wishing you a very successful 2012 holiday season!