Adobe forecasts $189 billion U.S. online sales this holiday season
Adobe today released its online shopping predictions for the 2020 holiday season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 31). Based on Adobe Analytics data, Adobe analyzed over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites and 100 million SKUs from 80 of the 100 largest U.S. retailers – more than any other technology company.
Adobe predicts that U.S. online holiday sales will total $189 billion, shattering all previous records with a 33% YoY increase, equal to two years’ growth in one season. If consumers receive another round of stimulus checks and physical stores need to shut down in large parts of the country, consumers are expected to spend an additional $11 billion online, surpassing a total of $200 billion (47% YoY increase).
Instead of Cyber Week (Thanksgiving Day – Cyber Monday), Adobe expects November and December to turn into Cyber Months this year:
- Daily Records: Online sales will surpass $2 billion every day between Nov. 1-21 and increase to $3 billion a day Nov. 22–Dec 3.
- Black Friday, Cyber Monday: Black Friday is projected to generate $10 billion in online sales, a 39% YoY increase; Cyber Monday will remain the biggest online shopping day of the year with $12.7 billion, a 35% jump YoY.
- Smartphone Share: Americans will spend $28.1 billion more on their smartphones vs. 2019, accounting for 42% of all online sales, a 55% increase YoY.
- Small vs. large retailers: Small retailers ($10M-$50M annual online revenue) will see a larger boost to revenue (107% boost) vs. large retailers (84% boost). More details below.
- Most anticipated gifts/toys: Rainbocorns, Cutetitos, Little Live Pets, Star Wars toys and LEGO sets. Video games: Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Mario Kart Home Circuit, Super Mario 3D All Stars. Game consoles: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch.
- New shoppers: Adobe expects 9% of all holiday customers to be net new online shoppers due to the pandemic, and conversion rates are expected to increase significantly (13%). The Average Order Value (AOV) is expected to stay flat YoY.
- Election Week (Nov. 1-7) will total $16.3 billion in online sales. On the day after the election, online sales will grow 11% slower than the full week.
“As retailers adapt to consumers’ new behaviors in this pandemic, we expect earlier discounts, more shipping and pick-up options and uncertainty around in-store purchases to drive this year’s online holiday sales to record highs,” said John Copeland, head of Marketing and Customer Insights at Adobe. “This year is unlike any in the past, and for the first time we are no longer referring to peak holiday sales as Cyber Week - it’s now Cyber Month.”
- Cyber Week turns into Cyber Months: In the weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 1-22), Adobe predicts that consumers will spend $56 billion, a 37% YoY increase. Amid concerns around shipping delays, product demand and the uncertain economic environment, retailers will start holiday sales much earlier this season. A record 33% of consumers plan to have their holiday shopping complete by Black Friday.
- Early discounts in November: Significant holiday discounting will begin within the first two weeks of November and build to the deepest category price drops over Black Friday through Cyber Monday:
- Black Friday will be the best day to get discounts on appliances (discounted by 11% on average) and TVs (19%)
- Small Business Saturday (Nov. 28) is expected to drive the steepest discounts for computers (18%)
- Best discounting for toys (20%) and furniture (10%) will fall on Sunday, Nov. 29, the day before Cyber Monday
- Sporting goods will offer the best deals on Dec. 13 (27%) with electronics on Dec. 18 (19%)
- Dec. 26 will see the best prices on tools and home improvement items (12%)
- Affordable and free shipping options will be in high demand:
- 64% of consumers say they’re not going to pay for expedited shipping this year, signaling to retailers that free shipping cut-off dates need to be communicated early.
- Retailers will offer the cheapest shipping options on the day after Cyber Monday.
- In lieu of friend and family gatherings this year, Americans will be purchasing and sending gifts. The rate of orders shipped directly from retailers to friends and family will increase by 18% this holiday season.
- Curbside pickup evolves, remains popular option amid in-store shopping concerns: BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store), now including curbside pick-up, will have over 40% more orders vs. 2019. As people panic buy the week leading up to Christmas, BOPIS is expected to top 50 percent of all orders at retailers that offer BOPIS.
- Some positive news for small retailers:
- Small retailers ($10M-$50M annual online revenue) will see a larger boost to their revenue (107% increase), vs. only 84% increase for large retailers (annual online revenue of over $1B).
- However, large retailers will continue to dominate with online sales growing 55% YoY versus 8% for small retailers.
- 51% of consumers plan to support small and local retailers on Small Business Saturday; 38% plan to shop at smaller retailers throughout the season.
- Uncertainty around spending during the election: 26% of consumers say that the outcome of the election will impact their holiday spending. Based on past elections, online sales were negatively impacted after the outcome was known. Online sales were down 14% the day after the 2016 election, and online sales dropped by 6% the day after the 2018 mid-term election.
Adobe leverages Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s AI and machine learning framework, to identify retail insights from trillions of data points that flow through Adobe Analytics and Adobe Commerce Cloud, both part of Adobe Experience Cloud. Adobe Analytics analyzes one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs and 80 of the 100 largest retailers in the U.S. – more than any other technology company.
Only Adobe’s analysis spans large, medium and small retailers across over 50 merchandise categories, powered by Adobe Analytics and Adobe Commerce Cloud, part of Adobe Experience Cloud, to provide the industry’s most accurate view of online shopping in the U.S. Companion research is based on a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers in October 2020.
Read this article for additional insight around this year’s predictions