37% of online retailers started holiday preparations earlier this year

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As we head into peak holiday shopping season, a survey of online retailers conducted by BigCommerce reveals more than a third began their holiday preparations months earlier than last year.

The e-commerce software provider surveyed more than 1,000 of its clients, primarily B2C retailers with annual earnings from less than $50,000 to more than $1 million.

According to the findings, 37.5 percent of the survey participants said they began planning anywhere from one to four months earlier in 2017 compared to their holiday 2016 preparations. Fifty-four percent reported no change at all to their holiday planning schedule, apparently satisfied with their timing last year.

Overall, online retailers are feeling good about their preparations, with 88 percent expecting an increase in holiday revenue. Forty percent of the survey respondents are forecasting a more than 25 percent increase in holiday sales over last year’s earnings.

Most respondents (64 percent) expect the majority of their sales this holiday season to come from their branded website. Nearly the same number of respondents expect sales to largely come from their brick-and-mortar stores as those who anticipate Amazon to deliver the bulk of sales this holiday season.

Where do retailers expect to earn most of their holiday sales?

BigCommerce says that merchants selling on two or more channels earn, on average, two times the revenue of brands selling via just one sales channel.


When asked which marketing and advertising channels they expect to be most successful, survey results were nearly evenly split, with 51.6 percent saying they expect their Facebook campaigns to be most successful, and 51.2 percent pointing to their email marketing campaigns. Facebook and email were followed by Google Shopping, SEO campaigns and Instagram.

To help drive holiday sales, 78.6 percent said they plan on some form of holiday promotions, with the most popular being a price discount, followed by free shipping offers.

What promos do you plan to use during the holiday season?

BigCommerce also asked survey respondents to list their biggest concerns around the holidays and found the top three worries revolved around inventory, delivery times and advertising budgets. Fifty percent (the majority) of respondents said they were most concerned about maintaining sufficient inventory. Forty-five percent listed keeping delivery times on schedule as their top concern, and 36 percent named high advertising costs during the holiday season.

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