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Holiday Shopping: Experts Point to Clear Upwards Trend
New York Ag Connection - 10/12/2017

The salad days of summer may have passed the United States by -- but for many online retailers, including U.S. retail giant Amazon and its affiliated sellers, the true feast is about to begin. Consumers are already starting to look forward to the 2017 holiday season -- and cash already is burning a hole in their pocket.

Retailers are rubbing their hands in anticipation of the money to be made this holiday season. Amazon's third annual July 11th Prime Day earlier this year -- widely billed as "Christmas in July" -- was a runaway success, dwarfing its 2016 counterpart with 60% more sales while driving consumer purchases of the company's Echo and Echo Dot lines. Some sellers enjoyed a leap of over 1,000%.

As consumers continue to choose online shopping's ease and discounts over the hassle of offline shopping during the busy holiday season, Amazon is winning big: the 2016 holiday took 38% of US retail ecommerce sales according to one study. This amounted to some $23bn sales over the holiday period, leaving all other online retailers in the dust with their combined sales total of $2.5bn.

"Amazon is absolutely in beast mode right now. Look at any list of statistics, and the market trends are all straight up, year-on-year. There is simply no other marketplace that compares, either offline or online right now," said Sylvio Lindenberg, CSO of Quartile, a firm which specializes in helping third party merchants to sell on Amazon's marketplace. "In part, that's due to Amazon's aggressive promotional strategies -- but it's also down to changing consumer preferences."

Predictions for the holiday 2017 season are buoyant, with Amazon expected to net almost half of the ecommerce sales pie at 43%, marking a successful end to a year which saw ecommerce grow by 53% overall.

Christmas is also coming 32 days after Thanksgiving this year, giving consumers an extra weekend to shop. For Amazon and its sellers, 2017 is set to be a watershed year as growing consumer confidence in ecommerce, combined with the sheer convenience shopping from the living room results in a sales bonanza.

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