Black Friday shoppers

In a few short weeks, retailers and brands stand to fill revenue gaps that have been widened throughout the year.

Adobe has released predictions for the coming holiday shopping season, forecasting that online sales will pass the $100 billion benchmark, landing at $107.4 billion — marking nearly 14 percent growth year-over-year. Adobe expects e-commerce revenue to snake about 10 percent more sales than physical retail.

“This year’s record-breaking online holiday shopping season is built on the strength of the big players. We predict the biggest retailers with wide selections, easy shopping experiences and free shipping, to drive online holiday growth this year. Still, there are opportunities for savvy small retailers to win, specifically with mobile experiences. As revenue growth plateaus, retailers will be competing hard for customers by offering steep discounts and providing a seamless customer journey,” said Mickey Mericle, vice president of marketing and insights at Adobe.

To cement its predictions, Adobe deployed its artificial intelligence and machine-learning tool, Adobe Sensei, to discern retail insights from trillions of data points that are processed by the software. Its findings are based on analysis of one trillion visits to more than 4,500 retail web sites and 55 million stockkeeping units. It also conducted companion research based on a survey of more than 1,100 U.S. consumers and analyzed 12 million social mentions between August and October of this year.

Based on its research, Adobe anticipates Cyber Monday to be the largest online shopping day in history, securing $6.6 billion in online sales — up 16.5 percent from 2016. “Thanksgiving is expected to grow to $2.8 billion (15 percent growth year-on-year), and one out of every $6 will be spent between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday; $19.7 billion over five of 61 total days this season,” an Adobe spokesman said.

Mobile visits to retail sites are predicted to outpace desktop for the first time, said a report detailing Adobe’s forecasts for the season. It expects mobile visits to amount for 54 percent of all traffic — 45 percent on smartphones and nine percent on tablets. Desktops are forecast to secure 46 percent of online visits. What’s more, desktop revenue share is predicted to drop to 66 percent, down six percent from 2016. Conversely smartphone revenue share is expected to be approximately 24 percent — increased by 26 percent year-on-year. Tablets are down nine percent annually, landing at 10 percent revenue share.

When are the best days to snag deals? The research found that the largest discounts are anticipated to be on Black Friday — with televisions averaging about 24 percent off, tablets approximately 23.6 percent marked down, jewelry prices lowered 12 percent, and appliances touting almost 18 percent off. The highest discounts for apparel are forecasted to be on Thanksgiving — down 15 percent.

Though consumers are expected to purchase less big-ticket items, they are predicted to buy more items, albeit at generally lower price points. “Huge unit growth seen in toys [39 percent versus 24 percent revenue growth] and apparel [20 percent versus 17 percent revenue growth], while jewelry trails [down three percent for both unit and revenue growth],” the company spokesman said.

The items anticipated to be the most popular gift items? Based on social chatter, Adobe predicts Apple Air Pods, Sony Playstation VR, and home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home to be must-haves for the season. Nostalgia is rising in relevance, too. Adobe forecasts that Nerf guns, Nintendo Switches, Super Mario Odyssey, and updated versions of Shopkins by Moose Toys and Hatchimals from Spin Master to be sought after.

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