According to Adobe Analytics, shoppers stormed the web en masse, with Americans clicking their way to $110.6 billion in sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 19, easily besting last year’s record-breaking $93.9 billion by as much as $16.7 billion, or 17.8 percent.
The stand-out channel was easily BOPIS, or “buy online, pick-up in store” services, which swelled 47 percent compared to last year.
The reason should be obvious: As the season pressed on, exhausted shoppers flocked to ways they could bypass in-store herds and sold-out shelves, noted Taylor Schreiner, director at Adobe Digital Insights.
BOPIS, which also goes by “click and collect,” allows customers to purchase quickly and conveniently at home, minus the nerves over shipping delays, stolen packages or damaged boxes. For last-minute shoppers, the option was a lifeline delivering them from crazed in-store checkout lines.
In the lead-up to Christmas, Schreiner noted, “Retailers who can offer the easiest shopping experience, whether through excellent use of data to anticipate shoppers’ needs or by providing an option for picking up products at brick-and-mortar stores, are the ones people are flocking to this week.”
As for the m-commerce or mobile shopping volume that thundered through the Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday opening to the holidays, the rest of the season hasn’t disappointed. Smartphones alone delivered $33.3 billion in sales up to Dec. 19, for a 57-percent growth over 2017, Adobe said, adding that it was the first holiday season in which most of the visits (58.3 percent) came from phones and tablets.
The peak retail period typically culminates in the last weekend before Christmas, and this season should be no different. Final online shopping numbers aren’t in yet, but BOPIS was surely especially tested on so-called “Panic Saturday.” At that point, deadlines for shipping Christmas orders had already passed, leaving only brick-and-mortar shopping or in-store pick-ups as the only options.
The team also noted other important nuances this season. An Adobe survey of more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers revealed that large e-commerce giants loomed large on consumers’ plans. As many as one-fifth intended to do more than three-quarters of their holiday spending at places like Amazon and eBay, signifying a 25 percent jump over last year.
As far as mindshare goes, that’s hard to ignore — mostly because it indicates that, however massive their businesses have become, these major marketplaces and online stores still had room to grow.
According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, consumers said they were planning to spend $1,250 on average on gifts, travel and entertainment, for an uptick of 5 percent over 2017.
In terms of fashion purchases, the firm called out streetwear as a major force. The product category — which covers sneakers, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, jogging pants and other apparel and accessory items — is known for having massive traction among young consumers. But they’re not the only ones. Forty-four percent of Millennial dads said they planned to buy streetwear to give others as gifts, while 54 percent said they intended to buy for themselves.