Conversion Wednesday – Holiday Shopping Trends

By Chris C.


Understanding the shopping trends this past year can help us set up for next year. Helping us understand when purchases gives us some insight into why they converted as well.

I get a lot of questions from clients about whether it’s worth testing during the holiday season. The answer is always “yes,” particularly if this is the time of year that you do the most of your business.

The two main shopping trends from this year were:

  • Motivational messaging is king during the holiday shopping season.
  • Timing is everything.

Customer’s motivation for completing purchases changes during the holiday season. They are more likely to put up with little odd usability quirks on your website since they are motivated by buying a gift in time for the holidays. They’ll use pages that aren’t user friendly because they are willing to click around more to find what they want. So, running a test on page layouts, design, or colors won’t move the needle that much. The trick is to focus on how to effectively message the holiday shopping deals that you are offering. You want to make sure these deals are seen by visitors. You also want to make sure that these offers put the most money in your pocket. Does $10 off work better than 10% off? If there is no difference between the two, which one gives you better margins? These are the important messaging tests that you can perform during the holiday season to make sure you are using your holiday deals in a way that is going to put the most money in your pocket.

This leads to the second point: timing is everything. WHEN you offer these deals is just as important as what the deal is. This year, the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend was huge. The next period of increased sales was from the 14th through the 19th of December (since this is the last point when someone can buy online and guarantee that the gift will be there by Christmas). And, finally, a lot of store saw an small spike in sales immediately following Christmas (December 26th – 28th).

Finding the right combination of when to run which offer is the best way for you to make the most out of your busiest time of year. As you have questions about which offer works best on your website throughout the year, you can start to test these offers and how they perform at different times of your holiday shopping season next year.