Holiday E-Commerce Could Spike 33%

Holiday E-Commerce Could Spike 33%
Shipping will prove especially important in this year of the pandemic.

Online holiday sales in the United States will increase 33% year over year in 2020, according to a new projection from Adobe.

The San Jose, California-based digital marketing software provider said that holiday e-commerce spending will hit $189 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 this year — according to Adobe, that e-commerce increase will represent more than two years’ growth in just one season. Based on Adobe Analytics data, Adobe analyzed more than 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites and 100 million SKUs from 80 of the 100 largest U.S. retailers.

Additionally, Adobe said, if consumers receive another round of stimulus checks and physical stores need to shut down in large parts of the country, consumers are expected to spend an additional $11 billion online, surpassing a total of $200 billion — which would produce a 47% year-over-year increase. 

Further, instead of Cyber Week (Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday), Adobe expects November and December to turn into Cyber Months this year.

Adobe also released the following data about the upcoming holiday shopping season:

  • Daily Records: Online sales will surpass $2 billion every day between Nov. 1 and Nov. 21 and increase to $3 billion a day Nov. 22–Dec 3.
  • Black Friday, Cyber Monday: Black Friday is projected to generate $10 billion in online sales, a 39% year-over-year increase. Cyber Monday will remain the biggest online shopping day of the year, with $12.7 billion, a 35% year-over-year increase.
  • Smartphone Share: Americans will spend $28.1 billion more on their smartphones versus 2019, accounting for 42% of all online sales, a 55% increase year over year.
  • Small vVersus large retailers: Small retailers (that is, merchants with between $10 million and $50 million of annual online revenue) will see a larger boost to revenue (107%) than will large retailers (84%).
  • Most anticipated gifts/toys: Rainbocorns, Cutetitos, Little Live Pets, Star Wars toys and Lego sets. Video games: Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mario Kart Home Circuit, Super Mario 3D All Stars. Game consoles: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch.
  • New shoppers: Adobe expects 9% of all holiday customers to be net new online shoppers due to the pandemic, and conversion rates are expected to increase significantly (13%).

Adobe also said that Election Week (Nov. 1-7) will bring in $16.3 billion in online sales. On the day after the election, online sales will grow 11% more slowly than the full week.

“As retailers adapt to consumers’ new behaviors in this pandemic, we expect earlier discounts, more shipping and pickup, options and uncertainty around in-store purchases to drive this year’s online holiday sales to record highs,” said John Copeland, head of marketing and customer Insights at Adobe. “This year is unlike any in the past, and for the first time, we are no longer referring to peak holiday sales as Cyber Week — it’s now Cyber Month.”

Adobe also made the following holiday shopping predictions:

  • Cyber Week turns into Cyber Months: In the weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 1-22), Adobe predicts that consumers will spend $56 billion, a 37% year-over-year increase. Amid concerns regarding shipping delays, product demand and the uncertain economic environment, retailers will start holiday sales much earlier this season. A record 33% of consumers plan to have their holiday shopping complete by Black Friday.
  • Early discounts in November: Significant holiday discounting will begin within the first two weeks of November and build to the deepest category price drops over Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Black Friday will be the best day to get discounts on appliances (discounted by 11% on average) and TVs (19%) Small Business Saturday (Nov. 28) is expected to drive the steepest discounts for computers (18%). The best discounting for toys (20%) and furniture (10%) will fall on Sunday, Nov. 29, the day before Cyber Monday. Sporting goods will offer the best deals on Dec. 13 (27%), and electronics on Dec. 18 (19%) Dec. 26 will see the best prices on tools and home improvement items (12%).
  • Shipping: 64% of consumers said that they’re not going to pay for expedited shipping this year, signaling to retailers that free shipping cut-off dates need to be communicated early. Retailers will offer the cheapest shipping options on the day after Cyber Monday.

Adobe said that in lieu of friend and family gatherings this year, U.S. consumers will spend 18% more on gifts directly delivered from the retailer to people they might otherwise see in person Curbside pickup also continues to evolve, remaining a popular option amid in-store shopping concerns. BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store), now including curbside pickup, will have more than 40% more orders versus 2019. As people panic buy the week leading up to Christmas, BOPIS is expected to top 50% of all orders at retailers that offer BOPIS.

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