Online sales to surpass $100B this holiday season

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Online sales to surpass $100B this holiday season

By Gina Acosta - 11/02/2017

Online sales are expected to generate $107.4 billion this year, according to Adobe Analytics data.

The company also estimated that Cyber Monday will become the biggest online shopping day in history, generating $6.6 billion in sales, representing 16.5% growth compared to 2016.

Adobe's forecast is interesting because it is based on deeper insights than typical holiday surveys that ask shoppers about their spending intentions, which can vary considerably from actual behavior. Conversely, Adobe's forecast is rooted in data analytics. 

Sales on Thanksgiving Day are expected to increase 15% to $2.8 billion.

One out of every six dollars this holiday season will be spent between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, leading to $19.7 billion in sales. 

“This year’s record-breaking online holiday shopping season is built on the strength of the big players,” said Mickey Mericle, vice president, Marketing and Insights at Adobe. “We predict the biggest retailers with wide selections, easy shopping experiences and free shipping, to drive online holiday growth this year. Still, there is opportunity for savvy small retailers to win, specifically with mobile experiences. As revenue growth plateaus, retailers will be competing hard for customers by offering steep discounts and providing a seamless customer journey.”

While large retailers (more than $100 million in annual revenue) will see higher order values and desktop conversion rates than smaller retailers (less than $10 million in annual revenue), the latter are expected to have the mobile advantage with a higher average conversion rate of 1.9 percent by attracting more shoppers with an intent to buy. Adobe Analytics data also forecasts that shoppers will gravitate towards purchasing more lower-priced items online as opposed to big ticket items. While toys and apparel saw a 39 percent and 20 percent unit growth respectively last holiday season, jewelry sales came in low, with a three percent decline in unit growth. These trends are expected to continue this season.

Additional findings include:

  • Most Anticipated Gift Items: The most desired electronics this holiday season include Apple Air Pods, Sony PlayStation® VR as well as home assistants, including Amazon Echo and Google Home. Nostalgia reigns supreme with toys and video games, as Hasbro NERF Guns, Nintendo Switch and Super Mario Odyssey are expected to be among the top-sellers. Additionally, the top toys from 2016 are capitalizing on their success with updated products that are expected to perform well this year, including Moose’s Toys’ Shopkins and Spin Master Hatchimals.
  • Best Dates for Deals: The sharpest discounts are expected to occur on Black Friday, with televisions (23.7 percent), tablets (23.6 percent), jewelry (12 percent) and appliances (17.7 percent) showing the largest price decreases. On Thanksgiving, shoppers can expect to find the best deals on computers (16 percent), sporting goods (11 percent), apparel (15 percent) and video games/consoles (9.6 percent). On Cyber Monday discounts will be highest for toys at 19.1 percent. The Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving is predicted to offer the best deals for Christmas décor with average discounts of 22.7 percent. Furniture and bedding prices as well as pet products are expected to see the steepest price cuts on Giving Tuesday with 12.8 percent and 21.7 percent respectively. Some products will likely be out of stock before they see major discounts. Appliances, tablets and televisions are most likely to be out-of-stock on Thanksgiving Day, before seeing the largest discounts on Black Friday.
  • Mobile Shopping: While desktop purchases are predicted to account for two-thirds of revenue this holiday season, mobile is serving as a starting point for many consumers. For the first time, web traffic on smartphones and tablets is predicted to be higher than for desktops, at 54 percent and 46 percent respectively.


Adobe leverages Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s artificial intelligence and machine learning framework, to identify retail insights from trillions of data points that flow through Adobe Analytics, part of Adobe Analytics Cloud in Adobe Experience Cloud. Adobe’s retail report is based on an analysis of 1 trillion visits to over 4,500 retail sites and 55 million SKUs. Adobe Analytics measures 80 percent of online transactions at the largest 100 U.S. web retailers. Companion research is based on a survey with more than 1,100 U.S. consumers, and analysis from 12 million social mentions between Aug. 1, 2017 and Oct. 11, 2017.


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