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What’s Going On Online Christmas Week?

Although “Black Friday Preview” deals from many retailers in early November pulled forward the holiday shopping season in 2021, the week before Christmas is still crucial for many retailers to pick up last-minute purchases.  In today’s Insight Flash, we dig into how important this week was for online sales tracked by our CE Receipt data based on the percent of sales for the week, growth in items per transaction, and growth in price per item.

December 20-25, the last six days of the holiday season, represents 10.9% of shopping days since November 1.  Among our CE Receipt coverage universe, 18 online brands stood out as having a higher percentage of spend than this, implying an overreliance on the last few days of the holiday shopping season.  The top four of these brands are all online gaming related, implying that some of this spend may be self-gifting as gamers take advantage of days off from school and work.  Besides gaming, jewelry appeared to be a popular last minute purchase with 13% of holiday spend for Tiffany and Blue Nile taking place in this period.  Other luxury brands also saw high percentages of spend, as well as some sporting goods.

% of Holiday Spend in Last Week

Note:  December 20-25 spend as % of November 1 – December 25; select goods retailers not including grocery/drug; online DTC spend only

Value retailers Big Lots and Dollar Tree saw the largest year-over-year jump in online items per transaction in the last few days before Christmas.  Both grew by over two-thirds to take Big Lots to 7.9 items per transaction and Dollar Tree to 57.9 items per transaction.  The newly spun off Victoria’s Secret also saw a large jump of 57% to 7.6 items per transaction.

Growth in Items per Transaction

Note:  December 20-25, 2021 vs. December 20-25, 2020; select goods retailers not including grocery/drug; online DTC spend only

The number of gifts under the tree isn’t the only source of growth online, however.  Many companies in our tracked universe also saw a lift in the average price per item as well.  Leading these were tech gadget haven Brookstone and discount retailer Walmart at over 200% and over 150% growth, respectively.  These high growth levels came at very divergent average price points, $199.99 for Brookstone and $12.72 for Walmart.  Acquired jewelers Blue Nile and Tiffany also saw large growth in their average prices, more than double last year’s values.   This was again at different levels however, with the average Blue Nile item over 2x the price of the average Tiffany item.  Finally, fast fashion brands owned by Inditex, Wish, and Uniqlo were another standout as all being among the top growth in price per item companies. 

Growth in Price per Item

Note:  December 20-25, 2021 vs. December 20-25, 2020; select goods retailers not including grocery/drug; online DTC spend only