Around a third of e-commerce companies say they have no plans to launch marketing campaigns during peak season this year.

The figure of 33% who are choosing to opt out compares with just 6% who opted out last year, researchers for UK optimisation company Yieldify found.

The figures indicate marketers’ declining confidence around such consumer calendar highlights as Black Friday, Cyber Week and Christmas shopping season, says Yieldify.

But the contrast with consumer demand could not be starker – researchers say demand is trending in the opposite direction, with 34% of shoppers saying they plan to spend more this peak season than last year.

The study also highlights the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has sent website traffic and online shopping soaring, meaning that, in effect, for many retailers, Christmas came early this year.

But, as a second wave of COVID threatens, along with the restrictions this will bring, e-commerce retailers say they are cautious, and only 45% expect peak-season sales to exceed last year’s. Last year, 90% said they would outdo sales from the previous year.

In contrast, researchers found the number of consumers who said they plan to do more online shopping during peak season was up 8% compared to last year.

More than 25% of e-commerce brands said lack of consumer demand was the reason for opting out of peak season marketing, with increased competition the second most popular reason. And 23% of those surveyed said they were concerned the holiday peak season is seen as a marketing ploy by consumers. But only 3% of consumers agreed.

Brands’ caution is reflected in a notable fall in marketing “generosity” says the report, Peak Season 2020: predicting e-commerce patterns. Discounting remains the core tactic during peak season, but the number of companies who plan to offer discounts as part of their campaigns has fallen from 70% last year to 41% in 2020.

And the discounts on offer are less deep, with the most common level last year between 21% and 30%, compared to between 11% and 20% this year.

Overall, caution is the watchword in 2020. Last year, almost 70% of e-commerce brands had begun their peak season planning by September. This year, only 40% have.

Sourced from Yieldify