online shopping e-commerce holiday retail

According to Adobe, the online holiday shopping season is on track to be massive — and e-commerce customers aren’t waiting until Friday to get in on the action.

The software giant’s latest retail report reveals that early online spending has already set new records. Adobe Analytics Data tracked $28.6 billion in sales from Nov. 1 through Tuesday, for 17.9 percent year-over-year growth. Daily revenue clocked in at $1 billion or more for each of the first 21 days in November. Over the same period last year, only 19 out of 21 days met that benchmark.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, the public’s shopping spree shows no sign of slowing either. As of 10 a.m. ET on November 22, Adobe logged $220 million in online spending, for 11.2 percent growth. Previously, the firm estimated that Wednesday would bring in $1.71 billion in revenue, so these latest results appear on track.

“We’re seeing significantly higher growth in online spend this year, even before the deepest discounts hit on Black Friday,” said Mickey Mericle, vice president of marketing and insights at Adobe. “Every day in November has been a billion dollar day, and we’re predicting that we have more than twice the number of $2 billion shopping days this holiday season – that’s an incredible milestone.” In all, the company anticipates that 18 days in 2017 will hit $2 billion, more than doubling from last year’s count of eight.

Adobe, which forecast online sales of $107.4 billion, believes that the upcoming Cyber Monday will break records as the biggest U.S. online shopping day in history, with $6.6 billion in sales and 16.5 percent growth expected. Furthermore, it said Black Friday will pull in $5 billion, for a 16.4 percent growth, and shopping on Thanksgiving day will rake in $2.8 billion in sales for 15 percent growth.

The tech company also pointed to companion research, from a survey with more than 1,100 U.S. consumers, that claimed 52 percent of shoppers assume the best online deals will go out on Cyber Monday, not Black Friday. But that assumption is errant, said Adobe, which predicted Black Friday will offer the biggest savings across a slew of products. 

Voice and virtual reality technology is expected to be on many wish lists. Adobe noted that the most popular electronics include Apple AirPods, the Amazon Echo, Playstation VR and Oculus Rift devices. It also reported a boost in consumer behavior across all the major devices: More people went from browsing to buying across smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, with the latter’s 4.1 percent showing double-digit growth of 10.9 percent, year over year. 

In terms of what drives people to retail promotions, search is apparently still a major force. According to a company spokesman, “Search makes up the majority of the shares of sales,” with paid search — such as advertisements and sponsored results — weighing in at 22.2 percent and natural search at 22.3 percent. Direct traffic and email came in at 27.2 and 19.1 percent, respectively.

Although email campaigns may seem antiquated in today’s innovation-obsessed marketing world, it showed the strongest uptick in growth, with 10.8 percent, year over year.

Adobe Analytics measures 80 percent of online transactions at the largest 100 U.S. e-commerce purveyors, and uses its Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to pinpoint insights. Transactionally, as much as $7.50 of every $10 spent online across the top 500 domestic retailers go through Adobe Experience Cloud. Its latest retail report is based on an analysis of one trillion visits to over 4,500 retail sites and 55 million SKUs.

The early rush to buy could influence shopping timeframes, as a whole. Sixty-one percent of shoppers, especially younger consumers, believe their holiday shopping will be completed by Dec. 11, the firm added.

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