ECommerce Trends 2023: AI at the Forefront of Holiday Shopping





The eCommerce landscape is undergoing a transformative phase, with artificial intelligence (AI) playing an increasingly pivotal role, as evidenced by the findings of Salesforce’s latest “State of Commerce” report. The 2023 holiday shopping season has not only seen record-high discount rates but also a significant surge in AI-influenced purchases.

Record-High Discount Rates and AI’s Rising Influence

Data collected from over 1.5 billion shoppers across Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud reveal a new trend in consumer behavior. Shoppers are now driven by value, seeking individually tailored engagements and offers. This trend was particularly noticeable during the holiday season, where global online sales reached an impressive $1.17 trillion, marking a 3% year-over-year increase. The U.S. contributed $272 billion to this total.



The holiday season witnessed the highest global average discount rate since the pandemic’s onset at 21%. This suggests a strategic shift in retailers’ approach to attracting consumers, focusing on the value proposition. AI played a significant role, influencing over 17% of all holiday orders, which equates to a staggering $199 billion in sales.

AI Adoption in Commerce: A Near-Universal Trend

The report highlights a significant trend in AI adoption within the commerce sector. Only 3% of commerce organizations lack AI plans, showcasing the technology’s growing importance. Automotive leads in full AI implementation, while media and communications lag behind. Commerce professionals already utilizing AI report an average time saving of 6.4 hours per week, demonstrating AI’s impact on productivity and internal processes.

E-commerce Expansion Beyond Traditional Channels


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E-commerce is no longer confined to websites or mobile apps. The Salesforce report indicates that 59% of shoppers have completed transactions over social media, a significant increase from 15% in 2021. Furthermore, 10% of all traffic to digital storefronts during the 2023 holiday season originated from social media.

Embedded commerce, encompassing sales, customer service, and social media touchpoints, is becoming a cornerstone of e-commerce strategies. Organizations leveraging embedded commerce generate approximately 41% of transactions through these channels, with customer service channels driving substantial incremental revenue.

The Rise of Digital Wallets

The way customers pay is also evolving, with digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay gaining popularity. During the holiday season, digital wallet usage grew by 54% compared to the previous year. This contrasts with the plateauing adoption of cryptocurrencies, which had soared in popularity in 2022.



The State of Commerce report by Salesforce provides a comprehensive view of the 2023 holiday shopping trends and sheds light on the future trajectory of e-commerce. With AI adoption and the expansion of e-commerce channels, the industry stands on the cusp of a new era where technology and customer-centric strategies will define success.

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  1. But are those discounts real? I know some retailers increased prices (blamed it on inflation) and then the discount just brought prices down to where they were (without “costing” the retailers anything).

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