Accertify 2022 Holiday Tracker #3

2022 Holiday Tracker #3

News

Post

It’s mid-November, and that means it’s time for the next Accertify Holiday Tracker!

As a reminder, we author bi-monthly synopses of what we are seeing in eCommerce compared to last year against a backdrop of broader macroeconomic trends. Because we are trusted to protect 40% of Digital Commerce 360’s Top 100 merchants1, The Top 10 airlines in the US*, 8 of the Top 10 global airlines* and leading entertainment and iGaming properties*, we have unique insights to transaction volumes across the world’s marquee brands. If you missed the second Accertify Holiday Tracker — read it here. (* Based on annual revenue)

For this post, we’ll evaluate November 1 – November 15 across retail, travel, entertainment, and iGaming industries globally comparing 2022 to 2021.  Given the COVID-19 pandemic is approaching three full years, we’ve decided to drop comparisons back to 2019 for this year’s posts.

The first two weeks in November have been quite the ride. We held mid-term elections in the US, the 3rd largest crypto exchange, FTX, filed for bankruptcy, after 6 consecutive interest rate increases this year, inflation ticked down slightly, temps went from 76 degrees and sunny to 30 degrees and 2” of snow on the ground in Chicago, and my beloved Phillies lost in the World Series. Despite all the ups and downs, there is no denying that the holiday shopping season is in full swing.

As we’ve shared in our first two Holiday Trackers, travel and entertainment have been the growth superstars and that trend continues again with YoY increases of 13.75% and 54.75%, respectively. However, as the calendar switched to November, retail has begun to take back some of the limelight with a 5.3% YoY increase (as a reminder, in the October 16th-31st time period, we saw retail volume decline 2.39% YoY). On the surface, a 5.3% YoY increase may not seem that impressive next to the double-digit gains in travel and entertainment. Don’t let the percentages fool you. This time of year, we’re comparing big numbers against big numbers and since we look at raw transaction volumes and not gross merchandise value, our results mute any inflationary tailwinds. An interesting trend, perhaps it is just a hypothesis at this point, is assessing whether shoppers are delaying purchases to see if a better deal awaits. If you cast your mind back to last holiday season, the general theme was inventory was strained due to supply chain disruptions and that if you saw something you desired the best advice was to buy it now and not wait. This year it may be the opposite; best to wait, then buy? Inventory levels have been repleted, especially in apparel, and discounting has returned2.  If the hypothesis holds, we should see outsized YoY growth on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and also in the first half of December. Perhaps some procrastination isn’t all that bad.

Well, if you are thinking of procrastinating for your retail shopping, it’s unlikely to be a viable strategy for travel and entertainment purchases. Demand continues to outweigh supply as Taylor Swift “broke the internet” earlier this week when her concert tickets went on pre-sale2. Normally when I get together with friends we talk about sports, kids, or something in the news, like sports. Lately, maybe it’s because it’s on my mind, people are talking about concerts. Ones they’ve just attended or ones they’ve booked and are looking forward to for next year. It generally feels like no matter the concert the demand is insatiable. Hmmm, as someone who struggles mightily to buy anything for my wife, maybe that would make for a good holiday gift?

Finally, as we look at the numbers across all industries for the first half of November, we saw a 10.2% YoY increase.  That is a slight drop from the last two weeks of October (16th-31st) which had a 12.1% YoY increase. Procrastinators, maybe? In our next Holiday Tracker post, which will cover November 16th through the 30th, we’ll also break out Black Friday and Cyber Monday volumes. Happy shopping!

1: Based on annual websales as reported to: https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/about-our-databases/
2: https://www.wsj.com/articles/black-friday-deals-arrived-early-for-many-shoppers-this-year-11668430812?mod=Searchresults_pos1&page=1
3: https://www.theverge.com/2022/11/15/23460279/taylor-swift-ticketmaster-the-eras-tour-concert-presale-crashed