This holiday season, from November 1 to December 31, American consumers spent $204.5 billion online, up 8.6% from last year. But red-letter deals have taken a back seat this year as consumers started early and spread out their spending, according to figures from Adobe Analytics.
Online spending rose 19.2% year over year in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, but fell 1.4% during Cyber Week (the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday). Online spending rose again between Nov. 30 and Dec. 31, up 5.6%, according to Adobe.
Average discounts were lower in some categories, including electronics (8% vs. 21% last year) and computers (10% vs. 22%), while TV deals were comparable. Discounts were greatest in clothing (13% off vs. 11% last year) and toys (19% vs. 14% last year). Holiday e-commerce was driven by toys, video games, gift cards and books, Adobe said.
Overview of the dive:
With the announcement of the omicron variant over Thanksgiving weekend, it’s no surprise that many consumers are going online to do their holiday shopping.
“This holiday shopping season was the first time that big promotional moments like Cyber Monday and Black Friday were given less prominence,” said Taylor Schreiner, senior director of Adobe Digital Insights, in a press release. “As we have seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, e-commerce has become a ubiquitous daily activity and a flexible way for shoppers to navigate product availability and higher prices.”
Indeed, e-commerce, already a growing channel, grew further in 2020 as the pandemic forced temporary store closures and drove wary consumers away from stores. Even when people resumed shopping in stores last year, the threats and uncertainties of the pandemic remained during the holidays and continue to this day.
This could, as expected, heighten expectations for curbside services. Consumers chose this fulfillment option for 23% of their online orders this season, just between 24% in 2020 and 22% in 2019. Adobe describes demand for curbside services as “sustainable”, citing their value in terms of convenience, speed and COVID-19 safety. On Dec. 23, curbside usage peaked at 40%, with curbside orders averaging $91, according to Adobe’s report.
The effect on the supply chain was also felt during the holidays, with retailers sending more than 6 billion out-of-stock messages to consumers online this season, up 253% from before the 2019 pandemic. and 10% more than in 2020. Adobe said.
Fewer holiday deals may have helped boost buy-now-pay-later usage into double digits, although its growth is slowing. BNPL payments revenue was up 27% year-over-year and 475% from 2019, with such orders up 10% year-over-year and 479% from to 2019, Adobe found.