Summary:

Online retail sales may slump during the summer, but that doesn’t mean shoppers aren’t occasionally willing to drop the big bucks. New York-based data analytics startup SumAll shares several e-commerce trends for the dog days of summer.

Laptop on the beach
photo: Giorgio Montersino

Online retail sales may slump during the summer, but that doesn’t mean shoppers aren’t occasionally willing to drop the big bucks. It just might depend on the day of the week.

According to New York-based data analytics startup SumAll, during the summer months, shoppers are the most likely to buy expensive items on Mondays. While the average daily spend during the summer is $37.95, consumers hit a high of $41.13 on Mondays and a low of $34.74 on Fridays. Not surprisingly, weekend sales during the summer are also lower than the rest of the year, SumAll said.

Between summer Fridays and weekend trips away, it makes sense that people spend less time and money shopping online towards the end of the week. When I asked SumAll CEO Dane Atkinson to put on his social scientist hat, he said Mondays could be a big shopping day because people stay away longer on the weekends and don’t have late Sunday night to make the purchases they might have thought about over the weekend.

“It may also have to do with emotions,” he said. “Buying big Monday helps cheer folks, [compared to] Friday, [when] you’re buying out of need not blues.”

But the finding about Monday shopping isn’t the only trend SumAll, which provides online businesses with an easy-to-use reporting tool, was able to dig up. The company collected data from more than 3,000 of its merchants, comprising nearly half a billion dollars in transactions over four years, to pull out several insights about summer selling.

Atkinson said they were obviously well aware of the summer slump, but wanted to provide their merchants with aggregate trends.

“Context is very important to understanding your customer,” he said. “[Let’s] say, against this data, it turns out your sales are impacted more than the average in summer, then your customer is a seasonal buyer and you need to alter your communications.”

For some kinds of items, for example, beach gear, that might be an obvious insight to figure out, he said, but it could also apply, less intuitively, to things like some kinds of hardware. On the other hand, Atkinson added, if a merchant thinks that sales are up because of brilliant marketing, the data can help confirm their success or help realize that they’re just riding a trend.

SumAll’s infographic below (and on its blog) features several trends about summer selling. But here’s a brief overview of a few.

  • Wednesdays are best for revenue.
    SumAll looked at the daily revenue distribution from June through August and found that Wednesdays contribute 16.1 percent of the revenue during a given week. From that hump day high, however, daily revenue distribution drops to 10.9 percent on Saturdays and 11.4 percent on Sundays.
  • July is the slowest month for sales but the average order size is smallest in August.
    The summer slump is most pronounced for e-commerce sellers during July, when gross sales fall 30 percent from the high of December. But SumAll also found that the average order size is smallest in August —  it’s $81.87, which is 5 percent below the average of $86.07. (In July, the order size is 4 percent below the average.)
  • The week of July 23 is the slowest week for summer sales and the week of August 27 is the biggest week.
    During the peak of the summer, Americans seem to take a break from online shopping. But, just in time for the start of the school year, weekly sales hit a high at at the end of August.

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