Accertify Holiday Tracker:
2021 eCommerce Holiday Shopping Trends

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As the 2021 holiday shopping season heads down the home stretch, it’s time for the next Accertify Holiday Tracker!  On October 1st, we started sharing quick bi-weekly synopses of eCommerce shopping trends we are seeing and putting that in context with previous years and against a backdrop of broader macro trends.

Accertify is fortunate to protect 40% of the Internet Retailer’s top 100 merchants, top global airlines (based on revenue), and leading US ticketing and entertainment websites. We have unique insights into transaction volumes across the world’s marquis brands. If you missed the last Accertify Holiday Tracker, you can read it here.

And now for our fifth and final iteration. We looked at eCommerce shopping trends and transaction volumes from December 1-15 across retail, travel, and entertainment industries globally from 2019, 2020, and 2021.  To aid in our comparison, and to provide a broader perspective across the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ll use the 2019 time period as our basis.

In late summer, when we conceived the idea to produce the Holiday Tracker, we strongly considered wrapping it up (bad pun) at the end of November after Black Friday and Cyber Monday concluded.  I’m really glad we decided to include this 5th period (December 1 -15) in our analysis as a few interesting trends took place.

First, the retail volume has not trended down but has increased at a breakneck pace. In this holiday season, we saw more volume from December 1-15 than we did between November 16-30, and the latter period includes eCommerce power days: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  In fact, on December 15th, we processed 41.86M transactions, only 7.8% below Cyber Monday’s volume and an eye-popping 10.46M more transactions than the same day last year.  While I am guilty each year of waiting until the last minute to place my orders so they arrive in time, this is not something that can be explained away by a crowd of procrastinators. With the 2021 holiday shopping season starting in early October and still going strong through mid-December, I expect many merchants will see increased sales this year.

Second, the Omicron variant is visible. As you might have guessed, it has disproportionately struck the travel industry.  While the collective volume is still up YoY and Yo2Y (104.8% and 3.9%, respectively) it has dropped 13.6% when compared against the November 1-15 period a month ago. While international travel did open back to the US last month, the Omicron variant has led to increased COVID-19 testing, dramatic travel reductions in Southern Africa, and countries like Japan, Austria and others temporarily closing their borders to non-essential travel.  On the flip side, the entertainment industry has fared much better with Yo2Y volume up 11.8%.  This may reflect the more domestic advantage of this industry compared to travel.  For example, I might feel more comfortable going to a Chicago Bears game than hopping on an international flight even though the ticket prices may be similar.

Finally, as we look back at the first half of December, Accertify’s clients’ e-commerce transaction volumes across all industries globally, continue to grow at a solid pace of 22.7% compared to last year and 20.9% compared to 2019.  While 2021 holiday shopping volume declined 1.5% between 2020 and 2019, this is largely explained away by the fact that Cyber Monday fell on December 2nd in 2019 and skewed the comparison. If normalized, it would have resulted in a 1.5-2% increase.

From all of us at Accertify, Happy Holidays. See you in 2022!