San Francisco — In-store holiday sales during December 2013 are expected to come out ahead of in-store holiday sales during the same month in the previous year. Retail analytics provider Euclid analyzed nearly 25 million domestic shopping sessions during December, revealing that shopper traffic and window conversion improved as heavy promotions kept holiday shoppers coming.
Euclid analysis shows that traffic in December increased 4% compared to the previous month and 8.6% compared to the same month last year. Shopping visits continued to grow in December despite headwinds from weather in certain parts of the country, driven by a heavily promotional season. Despite a sluggish start to the month, shoppers left a lot of holiday shopping for the week before Christmas, and traffic picked up significantly. Traffic remained robust after the holiday, as shoppers looked to take advantage of inventory-driven discounts.
Window conversion in December, defined as the number of shoppers who enter a store as a percentage of the total foot traffic, rose to 8.9% from 7.5% the prior year and 8.8% in November 2013.The percentage of shoppers who entered a store but left within five minutes ("bounce rate") was 10.3% in December 2013, up from 9.9% in December 2012, but an improvement from the year’s high of 11.7% in November.
Shopping session duration, defined as the mean time from store entry to store exit, was 22.2 minutes in December, a decline from 22.5 minutes year-over-year, but the longest average duration measured since August 2013. Depressed average shopping durations were seen during the first half of the month, but this trend reversed itself as shoppers crammed a significant portion of their holiday shopping into the week before Christmas and became much more intent upon reaching a purchase.
In December, active repeat customers, defined as individuals returning to a store location more than once in 30 days, totaled 12.4% of total visits measured, up 0.5 percentage points from the previous month, but slightly less than the 12.9% seen in December 2012. Consumers were forced to make more trips to the store to accomplish their shopping in a shortened holiday period, resulting in the highest active repeat ratio since June 2013.
The best day of the month was “Super Saturday,” Dec. 21, with the month’s highest traffic and exceptional average duration as shoppers were very engaged in-store and intent on finishing holiday shopping. The worst day of the month was Monday, Dec. 2, which suffered from the lull following Black Friday. The day saw low window conversion and very high bounce rates as shoppers were waiting for new deals to materialize closer to Christmas.