As we come into the new year we can look back and reflect on what has gone.
For those like me, that means going over trends that emerged in ecommerce, shifts in behavior… all the good stuff.
With the same enthusiasm of unpacking a Christmas present, let’s unwrap the insight of the 2021 holiday season.
Firstly, ecommerce consumers faced a wide wall of 6 billion out-of-stock messages. This represents a 10% increase compared with out-of-stock messages in the 2020 holiday season and a whopping 253% increase compared to 2019.
The culprit that analysts point the finger at is the supply chain, with many manufacturing closures, delayed cargo, and congested ports disrupting retail and in turn hampering the holiday season just gone.
Built on top of out-of-stock worries, we became more conscious of products that did sit on shelves. Around 25% of shoppers noted that they paid more attention to retailers that did have products in stock that were ready to ship during the holiday season.
The supply chain pain meant that some retailers hastened to fill their stock ahead of the holiday and hoped to not let the faces of their customers and potential customers drop into a frown.
Despite the barriers of out-of-stock messaging, ecommerce sales nonetheless rose by 8.6% compared to 2021.
“The thing to remember every year,” said Brendan Witcher, analyst at Forrester Research, is that “we are going to have shortages on certain items, whether that’s for an Xbox or the latest Furby or whatever… for all the talk and worry about supply chain, it didn’t come to fruition.”
Also emerging from the holiday season stats was the fact that ecommerce retailers were offering smaller discounts while maintaining higher prices.
When it came to promos, ecommerce retailers failed to offer as heavy a discount as they did during the year before.
Across 5 categories, ecommerce retailers offered lighter discounts. Only in 2 categories did they offer deeper discounts compared to the previous year – those being toys and apparel.
Just 29% of consumers said that they thought promotions were more limited. A full on 18% said that they actually paid full price for what they bought while 17% said they bought less than they planned due to the lack of promotions.
In terms of prices, they increased by 3.1% throughout December 2021 when compared to the same month in 2020. In fact, December was the 19th consecutive month of ecommerce inflation.
Price increases were not the same across all categories. 13 out of 18 categories saw price increases. Those with the largest price increases last month were apparel (16.6%), home improvement (7.1%), groceries (4.9%), and appliances (4.1%).