Internet marketing: Americans rushed to the web on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to complete their 2007 online holiday shopping as Christmas delivery deadlines loomed, resulting in a single-day Chase Paymentech Pulse Index high of $169 million in sales and more than 3 million orders.
This notable sales spike is more than 42 percent higher than Friday, December 15th, the peak Pulse Index shopping day in 2006.
Since the start of the 2007 holiday season, the Chase Paymentech Pulse Index has tracked online holiday spending at 10 of the top 30 online retailers as ranked by Internet Retailer magazine. To date, more than $4.7 billion has been spent online with these merchants, totaling 91 million orders.
"We continue to see tremendous growth in sales and transaction volumes from Pulse Index merchants, which is representative of the sector's performance as a whole," said Michael P. Duffy, president and chief executive officer, Chase Paymentech.
"This year, eRetailers have aggressively promoted free shipping and other incentives and it's clear that savvy shoppers have taken advantage of these promotions during the peak pre-Christmas period."
Over the past week, average daily sales have reached all-time highs in the three years of the Chase Paymentech Pulse Index. While brick-and-mortar stores have faced challenges due to bad weather, high gasoline prices and procrastinating consumers, online retailers have seen consistent growth.
"The Tuesday before Christmas was the biggest spike in the online holiday shopping season this year," said Forrester Research principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru in guest commentary on the Chase Paymentech Pulse Index Web site.
"Consumers typically know that a week to 10 days before the holiday is the 'safe period' to purchase items online and hopefully still get their gifts in time. Web retailers also were very proactive about clearly communicating specific shipping deadline dates, which no doubt contributed to the surge of online sales on Dec. 18. The big challenge for retailers now is to deliver on those expectations."
The report comparison of 2007 online shopping trends to previous years indicates that online retailers consistently see higher sales volumes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Based on historical sales patterns, Chase Paymentech was able to accurately forecast that this season's online sales high would be reached this past Tuesday (Dec. 18), supporting a similar prediction by Forrester Research.
"The overall growth of eCommerce sales year-to-date has been about 20 percent, while holiday sales have been growing at around 29 percent," said Mulpuru.
"This puts more and more pressure on retailers to execute every aspect of their business perfectly during the 4th quarter: marketing, merchandising, website availability and execution, package fulfillment, etc. Any lapses means lost customers and sales."