With the increase in vaccines and CDC guidelines being lifted (we hope!), travel has definitely been pickup up here in the U.S. According to ABC News, American Airlines said it expects to fly approximately 90% of its 2019 system seat capacity this summer. United Airlines said bookings for summer 2021 are “far outpacing bookings for summer 2020.” Hotels and car rentals companies are seeing the same type of increase. While international travel is being tested, domestic travel is like testing the waters.
So, how will this affect your website traffic, and ultimately online conversion and eCommerce?
But first: Were websites spoiled during the pandemic?
A little. According to eMarketer, U.S. adults spent 13:38 per day with both Traditional and Digital Media media in 2020. Of this total, a whopping 7 hours and 50 minutes – nearly 8 full hours! – was spent with digital media. This was a 9% increase from 2019, which is a lot considering there has not been that kind of jump since the internet started!
Consumers are definitely taking a much-needed break from the computer to hit a vacation and make up for lost time.
What does this mean for eCommerce?
Of course, people will be shopping online, as usual – just maybe not as much this summer as they did last summer.
Online sales hit $791.70 billion in 2020, up 32.4% from $598.02 billion in the prior year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. That’s the highest annual online sales growth of any year for which data is available.
In Q1 2021, growth in eCommerce was still happening. Online sales increased 39% year over year in Q1 2021, nearly triple the 14% increase in Q1 2020. As the vaccine was beginning to roll out, stimulus checks came as well as tax refunds, people were still home and still in front of their computers a lot.
Currently, Q2 has seen a huge increase in travel and travel-related items to prepare for their post-pandemic life. So, what will the remainder of the year look like?
Brace yourself for Q4!
Normally, there is a decrease in website traffic over the summer months, but nothing these days is normal. As we move into July, we are seeing some slight decreases in traffic for some of our retail brands, but is that normal? Compared to last year, it is not. Comparing it to previous years, it’s on par, if not slightly higher.
Consumers are getting out! They want to experience life again after a year and a half of being virtual. They want to travel; they want to hug people; they want to meet new people. All of these things happen face-to-face, not on the internet. So, unfortunately for eCommerce, people will want to shop in person as well.
Is it all doom and gloom? No! Our educated guess is that the 2021 holiday season is going to see another spike in eCommerce sales that will not only be larger than Q4 2020, but also that of Q4 2019. Families will be together and gifts will be exchanged. Consumers are relying on new and improved eCommerce websites for ideas, convenience, and price factors. We don’t see this slowing down in Q4 at all!