There’s no Christmas in July but there’s plenty of it in January, or at least that’s what we’ve observed over the years. The same way Christmas works itself further and further back into the year from December, it’s extending forward into the next year as well. This means that when you plan for your holiday season spending you can’t just cut it December 25th, you need to have a post Christmas plan in place as well.
Holiday shopping has shifted in a very major way over the years. It used to be November and the first couple weeks of December were crazy busy and then things would peter out once we passed shipping deadlines. This past year we saw elevated traffic and conversion levels for ecommerce clients that ranged all the way into early February. Some even peaked after Christmas instead of selling strongly in November and December. The graph below shows some blended Adwords conversion data from various ecommerce accounts in our portfolio. You can see the market takes a deep breath in October and then has a whole series of excellent months.
What’s going on here is that there are two distinct phases to holiday shopping: Gifts for You and Gifts for Me. I’m a perfect example of this second phase. After Christmas I made a flurry of purchases related to presents I received. I was gifted a GoPro HD Hero2 camera and then proceeded to order a small fortune in accessories from GoPro’s website to supplement my gift. I have a feeling a lot of you out there did similar things.
Although the week of Christmas isn’t so great for traffic or conversions due to shipping constraints, don’t let that lull you into a false sense the season ending. At a minimum maintain your Christmas spending levels into mid-January and then play it by ear from there based on the traffic. If people are still buying at a higher rate, let them! Don’t let your preconceived notions of what Santa’s sphere of influence is get in the way.