2008 Online Holiday Shopping Season in Review

This is a guest post by my business partner Mike.  Each owner of Pure Adapt will be writing a post while I’m on vacation.

A brief intro, my name is Michael Li and I’m a long time friend and current business partner with Adam at Pure Adapt, Inc. and I will be guest posting today. My post will be a review the 2008 online holiday shopping season.

For us at Pure Adapt the 2008 holiday shopping season was a solid one and we finished the year strong despite the abysmal economy. We were prepared this year with a full fledged marketing plan for the 2008 holiday season and it paid off.

According to comScore’s e-commerce report, holiday internet retail sales were down 3% in 2008 compared to the corresponding days in 2007 (see Chart 1). Spending was down compared to a year ago but that’s not unexpected with the extraordinary problems that exist right now. Considering that 2008 was a year full of people facing foreclosure, large financial institutions failing with unemployment rising, it could have been a lot worse than -3%. On the plus side gas prices plummeted dramatically or spending could have been down much more during the holidays.

Chart 1

2008 was not an easy year for many businesses, but we have experienced continued growth in these tough times. I don’t have the numbers for the corresponding holiday shopping days like comScore, but I will use our December numbers: we more than doubled in December 2008 compared to the same period a year ago. We’re pretty darn happy with that kind of growth in these times. We’re such a young company in the growth phase of the business life cycle we haven’t seen too many ill effects of a bad economy. Our growth has more than doubled in a slowing economy so we must be taking market share away from our competitors, or the markets that we compete in are still growing, which I assume is not the case. This is a great sign for us that we’re doing something right.

A positive during the 2008 online holiday season based on traffic to top retailer sites is that overall traffic has grown 5% in 2008. In Chart 2 below you can see top retailers like Amazon, Apple and Walmart had significant growth in traffic. Another optimistic number for ecommerce is that sales increased on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday making the case that more people are aware of these special ecommerce shopping days (see Chart 3). Total spending for ecommerce may have been down but the certain numbers still show that ecommerce is continuing to grow.

Chart 2

Chart 3

Traffic wise for us, I will be using Detailed Image’s numbers because that is the bulk of our sales.  We had a traffic increase of over 133% in new visits based on Google Analytics. That crushes Apple’s measly increase of 19% lol. Anyways, another positive for us at Pure Adapt.

In a tough economy there will be consolidation that weeds out the bad businesses while the strong ones survive. Our numbers show for themselves that we’re moving in the right direction and what we’re doing is working. Through hard work we hope to continue to do so.

It was my pleasure to guest post on Adam’s blog and if you want to read more of what I have to say, you can visit my blog at www.Michael-Li.com.

5 comments on 2008 Online Holiday Shopping Season in Review

  1. Adam Gilbert says:

    What’s up Mike!

    Awesome to see you here.

    “He’s going to talk about our tactics, as well as who the overall winners and losers were in terms of traffic and sales this holiday season.”

    I guess you’re skipping the tactics part? Was curious to hear and see what you’re doing to make it happen…but, I do understand if you don’t want to share.

    Hope all is well and congrats on a great 2008!


  2. […] the complete post of 2008 Online Holiday Shopping Season in Review on Adam’s […]

  3. Adam McFarland says:

    Adam –

    Very observant 🙂 This one is my bad. Everyone gave me a basic outline of what their posts would be. I wrote that intro post before I actually got any of them (to save time as I was leaving for vacation). I probably should have waited.

    For the most part though, this holiday season our marketing was pretty simple: create irresistible specials, hit our email list with them pretty hard, and announce them on all of the forums we sponsor. Simple, but word gets out if you’re running something unique and people generally like your company.

    Hopefully next year we’ll get to try some more stuff 🙂


  4. Michael Li says:

    Adam G. what is up,

    I see Adam M. did mention me going over tactics but my post mainly focused on a review of the 2008 online holiday shopping season, including some of the numbers we did in comparison to last year. It’s just some miscommunication.

    Anyways I did do a post in December where I went over some of the most important things that we took into account in our holiday marketing plan and what we did to take advantage of it. Here’s the post http://www.michael-li.com/holiday-marketing-2008/2008/12/12/.

    It was a great finish to 2008 and I’m excited to try some new things this year.


  5. […] I say “only” because many physical retailers saw drops in the 20% – 30% range (see Mike’s post and this Reuters article for specific numbers).  We’re a little unique because we’re […]

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