online holiday shopping 2014

With the unofficial shopping holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in our rearview mirror, the holiday shopping season is officially underway. Across the country, shoppers max out malls and sometimes their credit cards in hopes of finding the perfect gift for their loved ones.

For many of us, holiday shopping brings ideas of long lines, cramped shopping malls and  a long, cold walk to the distant parking spot when it’s all said and through. However, some Americans are avoiding the headaches of holiday shopping altogether by looking online for their gift-giving needs.

Shoppers Prefer Online Rather Than Waiting In-Line

In a survey of over 800 Americans from across the country, the Eyeflow team has discovered that nearly 3/5 of our survey respondents will or already have completed some of their holiday shopping online this shopping season.

2014 online shopping survey yes no results

If you have already invested some of your time into online shopping this holiday season, you are certainly not alone. According to data from IBM, Black Friday online sales saw a 9.5% increase over last year’s online totals. Overall, the total online sales from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday saw a growth of 12.6% when compared to last year’s total figure.

Most of the age groups surveyed came in over 50% in favor of online gift shopping, with resondents 25 – 34 leading the way with over 70% reporting that they will complete some of their holiday shopping through online platforms.

2014 online shopping survey by age results

Cutting the Line with Online and Mobile Shopping

Certainly one of the most appealing aspects of shopping online is avoiding some of the infamous Black Friday chaos and lines longer than the eye can see. According to a report from the National Retail Federation, in-store sales are down 11% compared to last year’s figures.

Of those online shoppers, slightly over ¾ chose to shop on their desktops. However, over recent years there has been a growing number of mobile shoppers as well, using their smartphones or tablets to help them find the best deals across the web. According to IBM’s report, mobile shopping hit record levels for sales this holiday weekend. With many stores offering “early-bird” deals on Thanksgiving Day, customers took advantage of their instant access to the season’s hottest deals as mobile traffic accounted for over half of all online traffic during the day.

Holiday Shopping Takeaways for Business Owners

With more and more people electing to shop online from the comfort of their own home rather than brave the lines and crowds in-store, it has become vital for businesses to extend their in-store sales onto an online platform.

One of the most effective ways to make sure your company’s website can keep up with some of the holiday heavy hitters is by keeping your E-commerce technology up to par. Using BuiltWith can help you stay up to date with the latest e-commerce technology trends and check out what your competitors are using for their sites.

According to Adobe, this year’s Thanksgiving Day weekend sales saw a record number of sales coming from social media referrals, with $150 million in revenue coming from social media networks. While Facebook accounts for the most social referrals, both Twitter and Pinterest showed a significant YOY increase. That being said; it is vital for your business to use social media effectively to not only help customer’s find your business, but also to keep them engaged with your company’s website.

While online sales as a whole saw a dramatic increase, many would argue that the real winner of this year’s Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend was mobile shopping. Making sure your site is optimized for tablets and smartphones should also be a top priority for any businesses who are looking to cash in this holiday season. Recently, Google announced the addition of mobile usability testing to Google Webmaster Tools. Using this new feature, webmasters can test their site to check for a variety of errors with the mobile experience on your site. The tool tests for a wide variety of potential mobile experience issues such as tiny fonts, incorrectly sized content, not enough spacing between links and much more.

For many business owners, the holiday shopping season marks an opportunity to start the new year on a high note in terms of both sales and customer satisfaction. Make sure your website is primed to perform with help from the experts at Eyeflow Internet Marketing. Using our innovative website analysis tool, our team develops a comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of your site before developing a customized campaign roadmap to help guide your business to success using the most effective SEO strategies and innovative technologies in the industry.  Help your business tap into new channels and fresh audiences by contacting Eyeflow Internet Marketing today, and discover how we can help turn your business into a brand.

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Cory is the Director of Content Development at Eyeflow. He graduated with a degree in Multimedia from Point Park University, where he held focus in print writing and online content. When not at work, Cory spends his time conquering Pittsburgh's hills on his bike, tackling DIY projects and crafting creative recipes.

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