Comscore recently reported that “During the first 56 days of the holiday season, total online retail spending reached $23.11 billion, marking a 26-percent increase versus the corresponding days in 2005.” So if you’re in the retail industry, then releasing a product before November is a good idea unless you want to lose out on the two most profitable months of the year. But, if you’re launching a web based service aimed at small and medium sized businesses, you might want to wait until January.

After launching Wufoo in July, we saw monthly sales (new paying customers) and signups (users trying the product) steadily increase through the end of October. In November, sales and signups were on pace to beat October’s records until about November 22, or two days before Thanksgiving, where they both took a dive. Sales and signups rebounded once December arrived, and they were looking solid until about Dec 23, where there was another drop-off. It’s also worth mentioning that the sales made during the end of November were less likely to come from the United States.

Overall, the total number of signups in November and December held even with October’s numbers rather than the steady monthly increases that we had previously seen. Sales in the holiday season decreased about 20% indicating that businesses might be a little more reluctant to pull out the credit card during that time. Although we’re only two days into January, it already seems that signups are back to where they were before the holiday season. We’ve also spoken with some companies offering similar services, and they said January is usually a good month compared to November and December.

The momentum gained during Wufoo’s first couple of months was critical to our steady growth in sales and signups. While the beginnings of both November and December weren’t bad, there was a definite lull in signups, sales, and user activity during the ends of both months. Since it appears that bloggers blog less, readers read less, and buyers buy less, it might be worth waiting until the New Year to launch a product if you’re relying on word of mouth and momentum to propel you during your business’s early months.

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Chris Campbell

Should You Launch a Web App During the Holiday Season? by Chris Campbell

This entry was posted 4 years ago and was filed under Notebooks.
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  1. Jon · 4 years ago

    It’s a pretty safe bet that any non gift-having/related site will suffer some kind of revenue decrease during the holiday season. The 37 bajillion shoppers who are online (it’s 37 bajillion now, right?) will be frantically using their search engine of choice looking for that perfect gift for those on their list(s) rather than lookng for some new app and/or service to use.

    The same idea applies in March and April for sites who have primarily US-based visitors. Tax time isn’t a good window for a launch since everyone will be focused on appeasing the IRS.

    Better to hunker down for a few more weeks and fix any remaining bugs and/or put the final tweaks on your marketing plan of attack than release a product/service that will get a lackluster (at best) reception.

  2. Charles Johnson · 4 years ago

    Everyone needs a hug.

  3. Kyle Korleski · 4 years ago

    No, I would not launch a web app during the holiday season. I use the holiday season to draw up where my company wants to head when we charge into the new year.

  4. Chris Campbell · 4 years ago

    I agree, Kyle. We also used the holiday season to regroup and decide where we wanted to go in the new year.