Adobe Analytics has revealed that the 2023 holiday season witnessed a remarkable 4.9% year-over-year growth in online spending, reaching a new high of $222.1 billion. This surge in e-commerce was fueled by significant discounts across various categories and the increasing popularity of the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ payment method.
Key highlights from Adobe’s report include:
- Record Online Spending: The period from November 1 to December 31, 2023, saw consumers spend a total of $222.1 billion online, setting a new record for e-commerce. November alone accounted for $123.5 billion of this spending, aided by a strong Cyber Week, which contributed $38 billion.
- Deep Discounts Across Categories: Shoppers enjoyed unprecedented discounts, particularly in electronics, toys, and apparel. The discount rates in these categories peaked higher than the previous year, contributing to the overall spending increase.
- Rise in ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’: The ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ option reached new heights, with $16.6 billion spent using this method during the holiday season, a 14% increase from the previous year. It was especially popular on Cyber Monday, marking the biggest day on record for this payment option.
The data, based on over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites and analysis of 100 million SKUs across 18 product categories, offers a comprehensive view of U.S. e-commerce trends. This report is a part of Adobe Experience Cloud, a trusted resource for 85% of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S.
Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, noted that retailers leveraged discounting and flexible payment methods to attract shoppers in an uncertain demand environment, resulting in record online spending on major shopping days and a record 11 days surpassing $4 billion in daily spending this season.
Significant trends and insights from the Adobe Analytics report include:
- Mobile Shopping Overtakes Desktop: For the first time, mobile shopping surpassed desktop, accounting for 51.1% of online sales. This shift was particularly noticeable on Christmas Day.
- Popularity of Curbside Pickup: The report observed that 18.4% of online orders utilized curbside pickup, highlighting its continued value for consumers seeking convenience.
- Marketing Channels Impact: Paid search remained the dominant driver of sales, with other channels like direct web visits, affiliates/partners, organic search, and email also contributing significantly.
- Inflation and Consumer Spending: Despite the impact of inflation, strong consumer spending was driven more by net new demand rather than higher prices, as indicated by the Adobe Digital Price Index.
For small businesses and retailers, this report underscores the importance of online presence and adaptability to consumer trends, such as mobile shopping and flexible payment options. The success of online sales during the holiday season highlights the shift in consumer behavior and the growing significance of e-commerce in the retail industry.
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