It’s October and that can only mean one thing. The holiday shopping season is underway and we’re back for year 2 of the Holiday Tracker. Every two weeks, Accertify will share a quick synopsis of what we are seeing in eCommerce and try to put that in context with last year and against a backdrop of broader macroeconomic data.
So…here it goes. For this first period, we’ll evaluate October 1st through October 15th 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.
Let’s start with Retail. If you cast your mind back a year ago, supply chain snarls were top of mind and the going advice was to purchase early to avoid any disruptions or last minute disappointments. This year, the opposite may be true. The general consensus is retailers have too much inventory and may need to resort to discounting to move it1. That could bring welcome news for consumers, especially given the surge in inflation. From an Accertify perspective, we saw roughly 3% retail growth YoY. This segment represents our largest industry and moving the needle, even a few percentage points, is a big deal and translates to large volume increases. Also noteworthy is Amazon held their second Prime Day event of the year (Oct 11-12th) and while it was panned in the media2,3, their sheer strength likely brought forward additional retail spend into this time period. While the predicted growth in retail holiday sales is anybody’s guess, estimates range from 15%4 to low single digits5, it’s been our experience that most people endeavor to spend less each holiday season, but most times don’t.
In contrast to retail, travel experienced strong demand growing 19% YoY despite airfares climbing 43%6 over the same time period. While inflation is certainly in play here, I think the laws of supply and demand are driving revenue growth. This seems to match the macroeconomic sentiment expressed by many global airlines reporting their third quarter earnings to start the month. While corporate travel is still on the mend, one trend that has emerged is hybrid work. This event has allowed individuals to blend business and leisure trips as more and more organizations permit their employees to work remotely.
Next, is entertainment. At 25.9% growth YoY, it may be riding the coattails of travel to increased gains. As many COVID restrictions have been removed, or at least greatly reduced, in-person events are back. As I noted last year, our desire to enjoy a few hours of entertainment at a concert, theme park, or the movies is a powerful force, something we’ve all missed, and equally something we value and are willing to pay for.
Finally, we introduced a new core industry this year in the Holiday Tracker called iGaming and Sports Betting. It has experienced a meteoric rise as many state legislatures across the United States continue to legalize the activities and the growth has followed. Take New York for example, which legalized the practice this past January and in the first week had over 1.2M new accounts7.
Finally, similar to last year, we can see the steady October ramp in volumes to start the holiday season. Collectively, across all industries globally, we saw volumes in this time period increased 8.9% compared to last year.