SmartEtailing Blog

2019 Holiday Shopping Opening Month Report

By Ryan Atkinson

2019 holiday shopping at bike shopsThe 2019 holiday season got off to an early start because retailers knew there was one less shopping weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas than in 2018.

Unquestionably the majority of consumer retail spending was happening with nationwide retailers like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy - or online marketplaces like Amazon - but savvy bike shops achieved great results in November by being proactive.

Here's a snapshot of how bike shop retailer websites have performed so far this holiday season.

Bike shops started marketing November 1

Many of the largest bike shops started promoting gift guides at the beginning of the month. Retailers used a range of tactics to attract customers to their website and store; including email marketing, Google Display ads, organic and paid social media. 

Most bike shops didn’t discount product until the week of Black Friday so the month’s early sales were largely from full-priced gifts.

For the month of November, online sales were up 28.9% over 2018 - with order quantity and average order value increasing over 10%.

The abundance of outbound marketing activity resulted in network traffic being up 60.1% for the month, a massive increase for retailers.

Black Friday finished the month strong

Online sales growth rate for Black Friday exceeded 50% for the second year in a row. 

Growth came from a large increase in traffic and order volume, but at a lower average order value. Website traffic converted at an 8% higher rate than 2018 which is likely a combination of effective outbound marketing and improved website performance.

Online sales were spread out over more retailers this year as well, with a 26% increase in the number of retailers closing a website sale online.

Despite continued pessimism among some retailers that Black Friday is on the decline, the overall retail sector saw a record 190 million US consumers shopping on the Black Friday weekend - an increase of more than 24 million from last year. About two-thirds visited physical stores while three-quarters shopped online. The way consumers shop is changing but they are still shopping.

Small Business Saturday was a good day

This shopping day intended to support small local businesses likely pulls in some additional online business, but we did not see many bike shops proactively marketing the event. 

Instead, most retailers had promotions that ran from Black Friday through Cyber Monday so that clustering of outbound marketing yielded a good online sales day.

Online sales were roughly double the volume of other Saturdays in November, and higher than the typical Saturday in August. All metrics were dwarfed by the two big shopping days Friday and Monday, and Saturday was actually a lower performing day than Sunday which had no specific event associated with it.

Cyber Monday larger than Black Friday

While Black Friday attracts more online browsers and buyers, Cyber Monday remains the king when it comes to actual spending online.

Cyber Monday had a higher total sales volume than Black Friday this year, and the 18% year-over-year sales increase was precisely the same as it was in 2018. This roughly matched the overall retail sector increase of 20%.

More retailers had an online transaction on Cyber Monday than Black Friday, but the average order value was lower. In general, web traffic on Cyber Monday was less productive than on Black Friday even though the number of transactions was higher on Monday.

In-store pickup exceeds 50%

As we anticipated, consumers chose “Pickup In Store” for their orders over half of the time - 52.1% of Black Friday orders and 55.5% of Cyber Monday orders were click + collect transactions.

This upward trend continues. On a very positive note, bike shops outperformed the nationwide retail results reported by Adobe seen at businesses like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, Walmart, and Home Depot. Consumers appreciate the convenience of online shopping and the ease of getting in and out of the physical store fast.

Speed and stability across SmartEtailing

We have made major reinvestments in technology infrastructure to help local bike shops compete online with businesses like REI.

Despite massive web traffic on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday we maintained 100% uptime and consistently fast website response times across the US and Canada. Faster websites undoubtedly contributed to the increased transaction volume.

Three more weekends of holiday shopping

84% of shoppers plan to make holiday purchases in December, so retailers shouldn’t despair if they missed out on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush. There is still plenty of time to merchandise your website and send emails to your customers.

In the week before Christmas, 73% of purchases are made in store because consumers begin to fear that online orders won’t be delivered on time. Nearly 90% of in-store shoppers plan to learn about products online before buying in store. So even for in-store sales, your website is crucial.

Consumers are making quick decisions in these final weeks and it is important that bike shops make a good first impression on their websites and make shopping easy.

If you are reading this and don’t have your website merchandised for the holiday then please complete this form and we will contact you shortly to talk about your marketing plan for the remainder of the 2019 holiday season.  

Topics: Bicycle Retail Insights Client Updates Marketing


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