Online sales hit a record during holiday season

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Online sales hit a record during holiday season

By Gina Acosta - 01/17/2018

U.S. shoppers spent a record $108 billion online during the 2017 holiday season, with more people using smartphones and tablets than ever before.

The new data from Adobe Analytics, which collects its data by measuring 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. web retailers, said the amount was 14.7 percent higher than last year's total.

Mobile platforms made up 52 percent of traffic to retail websites during the November-December period and were responsible for a third of all online spending.

U.S. holiday spending across both online and physical stores rose 5.5 percent — the most in 12 years — to $691.9 billion, the National Retail Federation said on Friday.

Additional insights from Adobe include: 

  • Big retailers won big, but small retailers were competitive on Thanksgiving weekend: Between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, the average daily growth rate for medium-to-large retailers is 30% less than smaller retailers per year. During the full holiday season (Nov 1 – Dec 31), the average daily growth rate for medium-to-large retailers is 2.3x that of smaller retailers per year. Large retailers’ average order value volume (AOV) is 2x more than smaller retailers during the Thanksgiving weekend. Smaller retailers have an advantage in converting visits to purchases during that weekend, especially on mobile devices.
  • Retailers’ success early in the year predicts Thanksgiving gains: Retailers that grew 10%+ in the first half of the year saw revenue increases of 2.1x over the average retailer on Thanksgiving weekend. In comparison, retailers that struggled early in the year stayed even with last year’s performance.
  • The largest markets drove the most online shopping growth: On average, large markets will see about 15-20% more growth per household during the Thanksgiving weekend than markets half their size. Two-million-person markets will grow 15-20% faster than one-million-person markets, and four-million-person markets will grow 15-20% faster yet, etc. Fast-growing populations, high levels of international migration and younger populations were also associated with fastest growing e-commerce sales. DMAs with the fastest online sales growth during the holiday shopping weekend include: San Antonio, Orlando and Charlotte. DMAs with slowest growth include: Cleveland, Kansas City and Baltimore.
  • Record spend during Thanksgiving weekend: Revenue between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday totaled $19.6 billion, a 15.2% increase YoY. Black Friday ($5.0 billion) and Cyber Monday ($6.6 billion) steadily increased in importance since 2013. Black Friday 2017 represented 21% more of the shopping season in 2017 (4.6%) than it did in 2013 (3.8%). Cyber Monday 2017 represented 15% more of the shopping season in 2017 (6.1%) than it did in 2013 (5.3%).
  • Cyber Monday & Black Friday were massive mobile days: Over $7.0 billion was spent on tablets or smartphones between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday ($2.1 billion on tablets, $4.9 billion on smartphones). Mobile drove 52% of visits and 36% of revenue during that period. Smartphone transactions closed at a 14.2% higher rate YoY than and smartphone AOV increased 1.9% YoY between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. For purchases made on smartphones, the average visit from an Apple iOS device led Android by $0.58. Cyber Monday saw the first-ever mobile shopping day over $2.0B, with 30.4%  of the day’s revenue from mobile devices. Thanksgiving was the most mobile day with 41.0%  share ($1.2 billion spent on mobile devices). 
  • Search, email led as retail promotion drivers: Search drove the most revenue during the holiday season at 44.8% (natural search at 21.3% and paid search at 23.5%).