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Retailers had high hopes for 2012 holiday season

Retailers had high hopes for 2012’s holiday shopping season. According to MasterCard Advisors, retailers experienced a growth over the previous year’s sales of just over 0.7%, a meager increase compared to the 3-4% that most experts predicted. While retailers might have been disappointed in their overall sales, there is an interesting upwards trend in online sales.

The final tallies report that online sales increased by as much as 15% over the same period in 2011. Certain shopping days showed an even higher increase. For example, on Black Friday 2012, online sales were a whopping 26% higher than sales on the same day in 2011, surpassing $1 billion for the first time ever. This trend of online sales benefited exclusively online retailers the most, however. Amazon.com reported that sales for their third-party sellers were 40% higher than the year before, which is spectacular by any measure.

Brick-and-mortar retailers experienced a boost from online sales, too. One noteworthy example is the popular Macy’s department store. Macys.com reported an increase in online sales of 52%, bringing the company-wide sales growth to 4% over the same period last year. Online sales helped Macy’s perform significantly better than the .7% average growth reported by MasterCard Advisors.

This upward online sales trend benefits retailers in different ways. Selling online is a very cost-effective way to increase brand exposure, allowing customers that may not live within driving distance of a brick-and-mortar store to purchase their products. Online customers are more likely to frequent the retail store of a company they buy from online, as well. Based on the higher order volumes from the online and retail sales, retailers are also able to negotiate better prices from their suppliers.



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