Analysts and e-commerce leaders are predicting a muted holiday online shopping season this year, with sales in the first three weeks of November essentially flat over a year ago due to a weaker economy. low, inflation and more people returning to shop in stores. in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. But looking at Thanksgiving, the first big day of the holiday, the numbers seem to be stronger than expected. Adobe Analytics released figures showing that $5.29 billion was spent online on Thanksgiving Thursday. That’s a 2.9% increase from a year ago, and ahead of the $5.1 billion Adobe originally announced for the day.
Mobile devices continue to play an increasing role in how people shop. Some 55% of online sales were made on mobile devices yesterday, up 8.3% from a year ago.
“Mobile shopping struggled to grow for many years as consumers found the experience lacking compared to desktop,” Vivek Pandya, principal analyst, Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement. “This year, Thanksgiving has become an inflection point, where smartphones have driven real growth and underscores how much these experiences have improved.
Salesforce has more dynamic numbers: it notes from its calculations, based on 1.5 billion shoppers, that worldwide online sales rose 1% on Thanksgiving Day to $31 billion. , while in the United States in particular, they increased by 9% to reach $7.5 billion. Salesforce also said that 78% of sales traffic comes from mobile devices. Average order values, he said, were $105 worldwide and $120 for US sales.
They may have different numbers and metrics, but both are seeing growth, so the bigger question may actually be whether the surge in activity seen on Thanksgiving will continue through the rest of Cyber. Week – which includes today’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the weekend in between – and actually the rest of the days and weeks leading up to New Years. Adobe predicted Cyber Week will generate $34.8 billion in online spending this year, up 2.8% from a year ago when the week brought in $33.9 billion. of sales.
Cyber Week 2021 was actually down 1.4% from 2020, so that’s a turnaround.
For comparison on those numbers, the National Retail Federation predicts sales growth of 6% to 8%, while another analyst group, Digital Commerce 360, predicts 6.1% growth for the period.
Either way, sales might not be fully sustained or even in the next few days. Adobe predicted that today’s sales – the infamous Black Friday – should reach $9 billion, an increase of just 1% over 2021 figures.
Adobe claims to have analyzed some 1 trillion visits to US retail sites, tracking sales of some 100 million SKUs and 18 product categories. Its analytics will include anonymized data from some of its customers: it is used by about 85% of the largest online retailers in the United States. He said that so far some $77.74 billion has been spent online since November 1.
The holiday shopping season is an important time to follow for several reasons. First, it’s traditionally a retailer’s most lucrative selling time, a time that can make or break the whole year. (That’s why recent earnings at Amazon, which provided a reduced sales forecast and warned of lower-than-expected holiday spending, sent its stock down nearly 20%.)
Because of this outsized importance, collectively, the e-commerce holiday numbers can serve as a barometer for the e-commerce market as a whole.
But if growth is what we seek, there are indicators of rough waters ahead. Adobe found that the first three weeks of November saw flat online sales of $64.59 billion, up just 0.1% from 2021.
The form of “holiday shopping” has changed significantly with the rise of e-commerce. Online shopping has extended people’s shopping days and hours – the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, once marked the ‘first day’ of the holiday shopping season, but that disappeared years ago with sales starting on Thursday, and people using the day off to get the click. Now, retailers large and small are looking to the ever-earlier start to holiday shopping in an attempt to generate more sales in a tighter market. And they offer more payment methods: buy now, pay later increased by 1.3% in terms of sales and 0.7% in terms of orders (which indicates that it is used more for items more expensive).
This is in a context where physical retailers are becoming more and more aggressive to win back their audience. The National Retail Federation in the United States said it expects 166.3 million consumers to shop over the long weekend.
“While there is much speculation about the impact of inflation on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust in-store traffic with record numbers of shoppers. taking advantage of value pricing,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. . “We’re optimistic that retail sales will remain strong in the weeks ahead, and retailers are ready to meet consumers, but they want to buy great products at prices they want to pay.”
Adobe notes that the biggest online discounts today are in categories such as toys (up to 34% off the listed price), electronics (27%) and computers (18%) . Squishmallows, Roblox, Paw Patrol, Hot Wheels, Cocomelon and LOL Surprise dolls are all selling well.
We will post more updates on the sales figures as they come in.