There was a 50% year-on-year increase in consumer digital spending in the 2020 holiday shopping season, making it one of the biggest digital holiday shopping seasons to date, according to the 2020 Holiday Shopping Report from CRM provider Salesforce.
Consumers spent US$1.1 trillion online worldwide and US$236 billion in the U.S., compared to US$723 billion worldwide and US$165 billion in the US in 2019.
The report combined insights from over one billion global shoppers across more than 40 countries powered by Commerce Cloud during the holiday season-between November 1 and December 31, 2020.
The report’s highlights and trends included:
- Digital commerce surged later in the year, despite an earlier start to the holiday season
Although retailers kicked off holiday discounts and promotions earlier in October, the bulk of this year’s digital sales were still generated during traditional shopping holidays. Total Cyber Week digital sales reached US$270 billion globally and US$60 billion in the U.S., while the first two weeks of December accounted for US$181 billion in global sales and US$39 billion in the US.
- Retailers offering curbside and other pickup options grew almost twice as fast as those that didn’t
With strained shipping systems and consumers prioritizing safety, retailers with curbside, drive-through and in-store pickup options outperformed those without these services. US retailers that offered these options increased digital revenue by 49 percent on average year-over-year, while retailers that didn’t only saw 28 percent average growth year-over-year. Retailers offering curbside, drive-through and in-store pickup options also experienced 54 percent digital revenue growth year-over-year in the five days leading up to Christmas, compared to 34 percent growth for those that didn’t.
- Consumers embraced financing options
With consumers looking to pay for big ticket holiday gifts in installments, buy now, pay later usage saw a year-over-year increase of 109 percent, with the biggest increase taking place the week before Christmas.
- Sporting Goods and Home Goods were the hottest product categories
Revenue for Sporting Goods grew 108 percent compared to the previous year, Home Goods grew 89 percent and Food and Beverage kept pace with 80 percent growth. Active Apparel (35 percent), Footwear (39 percent) and General Apparel (40 percent) experienced the least growth in revenue this holiday season.
- Retailers brace for “returnageddon”
Over US$330 billion in online purchases are expected to be returned globally-about 30 percent of all purchases made-as a result of this holiday’s ecommerce spike.
“The 2020 holiday season was defined by the pandemic and forced retailers and brands to innovate quickly with the introduction of services like curbside pickup, virtual concierges and a focus on social, messaging and live streaming to reach shoppers in new ways,” said Rob Garf, VP of Industry Strategy for Retail, Salesforce. “We expect to see these new innovations remain in 2021 with holiday strategies becoming the new standard that consumers expect from their favorite retailers and brands.”