Christmas shopping online

Ask anyone these days where they prefer to shop, and the chances are good they’ll tell you they are hitting up online stores more often than their local mall. E-commerce is booming and you don’t need to look any farther than holiday sales trends for evidence.

The increased convenience and better selection of online shopping give busy Americans a much-welcomed advantage during the holidays. Huge crowds and bad weather has historically made shopping for gifts at brick-and-mortar stores seem like an un-enjoyable burden rather than the chance to celebrate the holidays. Shopping online can help restore some sanity and order to an otherwise hectic season.

E-commerce Holiday Trends

When we look back on e-commerce trends, we may find that 2012 was a watershed year for online shopping. Black Friday is known in the brick-and-mortar retail world as the biggest of all big shopping days, and is traditionally considered the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. But on Black Friday 2012, online sales surpassed $1 billion dollars for the first time, a 21% increase from Black Friday 2011. In addition to all the shoppers who hit their local malls and big box stores, 57 million people also chose to shop online.

While this record-setting Black Friday was certainly a good sign for the 2012 e-commerce holiday shopping season, this was only a small taste of what was to come. Cyber Monday 2012, the e-commerce version of Black Friday that is held on the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday, set a new all-time sales record. Sales rose an astonishing 30%, and Cyber Monday 2012 became the biggest online shopping day ever.

Of course, given the rising popularity of online shopping, these two enormous ecommerce events happening back-to-back is no real surprise. However, the 2012 online shopping season wasn’t without some surprises. Though the day after Thanksgiving is widely considered the biggest shopping day of the year, the holiday itself hasn’t historically been known as a big shopping day. However, there is evidence this is shifting. Sales on Thanksgiving Day 2012 were 17% higher than Thanksgiving Day 2011, keeping in line with an all-over trend of growth. And as they did throughout the entire year, mobile holiday sales also increased.

Overall E-commerce Sales in 2012

The success of the online holiday sales season was the cherry on top of a very successful year for e-commerce overall. Every quarter saw exceptional e-commerce growth last year, foreshadowing a continued upward trend for online businesses.