The holidays are an important time of the year for a lot of different industries. This can be seen by the sheer number of special "days" we have devoted for certain kinds of retailers. There's the traditional Black Friday at major retailers, Small Business Saturday for local stores, Cyber Monday and more.

While the cynic may say these special shopping dates are just things thought up by marketers, data shows that these shopping days do matter. This can be seen by recent data from comScore, which shows that even the most recently coined day ,"Green Monday" (the second Monday in December), is a pretty big deal and that business owners are unwise to ignore it. This article will look at this most recent data on the 2016 online holiday shopping season, and how retailers can use this information to build better campaigns for 2017.

So far this holiday season, consumers have spent nearly $50 billion on gifts and the like. And while it's easy to think that any day during the shopping season is as good as another, the data clearly shows that days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and even Green Monday, all account for significant portions of the grand total for holiday revenue.

Of the $50 billion in holiday sales since Nov. 1, nearly half of the amount, $28 billion, was spent during the time between Thanksgiving and Green Monday. And while some of this can be attributed to the fact that more people are shopping during this period, the number make it hard to deny that consumers are influenced by the sales and marketing surrounding these dates.

According to comScore, in 2017 consumers spent $1.29 billion on Thanksgiving Day, a 17 percent increase over the previous year. Black Friday sales grew by nearly a fifth (19 percent increase) to reach $1.98 billion this year. Cyber Monday did the best this year. Though it only grew by 17 percent, that equated to $2.67 billion in sales on the one day. And Green Monday (Dec. 12th this year) brought in $1.62 billion, nearly as much as Black Friday. And according to comScore, Green Monday was the fifth heaviest online spending day of the holiday season-to-date after Cyber Monday; Tuesday, Nov. 29; Black Friday and Friday, Dec. 9.

The researchers at comScore noted the importance of this data for online retailers, and even used it to predict what we could expect to see in the data once the sales data from the past few days is compiled, since the bulk of online holiday shopping will be done by now.

"We have continued to see strong online spending since Thanksgiving, with Green Monday marking the 19th consecutive billion-dollar day on desktop, bringing the total number of days achieving this milestone up to 27 for the season. This far surpasses last year's record of nine consecutive billion-dollar days, and it's likely we will see this trend continue through at least the end of this week before the season officially begins winding down," said comScore CEO Gian Fulgoni, according to media reports. "While Green Monday's importance to holiday e-commerce has slightly waned in recent years as other days like Black Friday gain in influence, its 15 percent year-over-year growth rate gives us an encouraging sign for this last major online buying week of the season. With Free Shipping Day on Friday, December 16, we expect one last surge in online buying to close out the heavy part of the season on a high-note."

As comScore noted, most people will be done with their online shopping for Christmas by today. There's only a week before Christmas, and anything ordered now could possibly not arrive in time to make it under the tree. So while there will be some online sales holiday sales this week, the majority of the holiday shopping will happen in-store as the clock ticks down.

Though the online holiday shopping season is mostly over for this year (minus the traditional after-Christmas sales), retailers can use this data to help them plan better campaigns for next year. Some of the important takeaways include the fact that nearly half of online holiday spending happens before Thanksgiving Day; And that Cyber Monday and Green Monday are big days for online shopping, which is something that should be reflected in advertising budgets.

Either way, so far, 2016 has been a great year from online retailers, and hopefully, that trend will hold through the end of this year and into next. For more recent consumer researcher, read this article on how much shipping costs influence online consumer buying habits.

Published on: Dec 19, 2016