Ecommerce Holiday Trends From The Small Merchant Perspective

ecommerce_trendsA lot of studies and reports came out after the holidays looking at how the overall online retailers fared this past Christmas season. In most cases, these studies were looking at the big box retailers. Little was focused on how the small e-merchants did during this timeframe. Here’s our data to add to the mix…

What we measured

We took a random sampling of around 300 ShopSite stores run by small merchants that we host. These stores had to have more than 5 orders per day in order to be included in the data. We recorded the number of stores sampled, the number of orders each store received for a given day, and calculated an average number of orders per day (Number of orders divided by the number of stores sampled).

I’m sure we could have been more detailed (use a mean or median, throw out really high or low numbers, etc…) but this gave us a good “snapshot” of how each day ended up in terms of order volume.

The results

Here is a graph showing the average number of orders per day for each day starting from Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) through the end of January:

Average # of orders per day (click graph to enlarge)

Average # of orders per day (click graph to enlarge)

Conclusions to be drawn…

Based on the graph above, we can see a few trends and points to consider (Read our previous post about How SMBs fared during Cyber Monday).

  • Cyber Monday was the busiest shopping day
    This is an obvious one, but worth noting nonetheless. It’s interesting to note that the next two Mondays were very close.
  • Black Friday was very quiet
    Although large merchants saw a bump in Black Friday online sales, it seems small shops did not get this same volume of online shoppers. In fact, it was the worst performing day of the shopping season.
  • Mondays are the busiest shopping days from our sample
    Monday seems to be the busiest shopping day in terms of order volume for our merchants. Tuesday is a distant second, then Wednesday and Thursday, with Friday typically being the lightest shopping day of the week.
  • Saturdays are the slowest
    Saturday is typically the least amount of volume for our merchants. Seems to make sense.
  • Christmas sales were 33% higher than January
    Based on order volume, the holiday shopping season was much busier, as was expected.


We’ll continue to gather these daily statistics so we can analyze trends over time, look at various holidays, seasonal buying, etc…

If there’s something you’d like to see, let us know. Maybe we’ll fine tune the process and get more meaningful results.  :)

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  1. Derrick Wade says:

    Great study!

    In the sites I manage, these trends are the same.

    It’d be interesting to see it broken down over a 12 month period.

    Did you include sites that sell anything? Or was it mostly the
    type of products that will be affected by the holiday season?

    Derrick Wade
    Webmaster, Chesterfield Dentist

  2. Benedict says:

    What kind of sites were included in this review? I imagine a lot of it would different if these smaller sites could afford to post widely seen post-holiday specials!

    In addition to Derrick’s comments about a 12 month period, it would be interesting to see how this trend has changed from year to year.

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