U.S. Online Sales Expected to Reach $124 Billion This Holiday Season

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Adobe released its online shopping predictions for the holiday season, estimating ecommerce sales will reach $124.1 billion, an increase of 14.8%, with offline retail spending expected to increase 2.7%.

The company predicts Cyber Monday will reach a record $7.7 billion in sales, a 17.6% increase over 2017, which would make it the largest and fastest-growing online shopping day of the year.

The hours of 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. PST on Cyber Monday are expected to drive more revenue than an average day in 2018, Adobe predicts, with conversions hitting the highest rate of the year at 7.3%.

Thanksgiving sales are expected to increase 16.5% to $3.3 billion. Nearly one out of five online dollars this holiday season will be spent between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, according to Adobe, generating $23.4 billion in sales, a 19% increase.

One extra calendar day between Cyber Monday and Christmas Day will give retailers a $284 million boost in sales, Adobe said. Thirty-six days are projected to surpass $2 billion in sales, a record and up from 22 in 2017.

“As online shopping surges with another record-breaking holiday season, the retailers with compelling websites coupled with physical store locations will have the advantage,” said John Copeland, Head of Marketing and Customer Insights at Adobe in a press release. “Many shoppers want to interact with retailers’ products and the brand in store, and the ability to pick up online orders in store within a matter of hours can’t be underestimated.”

Retailers with both an online and a physical footprint are expected to see 28% higher conversion online in comparison to retailers lacking a traditional storefront, according to Adobe.

The survey found that shoppers will increasingly buy online and pick up in store during the holiday season. BOPIS has increased 119% since January across all retailers, and 250% for large retailers.

The survey showed 47% expect to browse in store for a product they intend to buy online later, increasing to 58% among millennials.

According to Adobe’s data, top categories with the biggest deals on Black Friday include electronics, TVs and computers. On the Sunday before Cyber Monday, shoppers will see the best deals in apparel, appliances and jewelry. Cyber Monday will see the largest discounts on toys. Giving Tuesday will see discounts on furniture and bedding and Thanksgiving for sporting goods.

Smartphones are still the preferred device for online shopping, representing 48.3% of visits and 27.2% of revenue, and mobile commerce sales are expected to rise 11.6%. However, completed cart orders happen over 20% less on smartphones than on desktop, due to less-than-optimal checkout experiences. Closing this gap would equate to $9 billion in mobile sales, Adobe estimates. Tablets are on the decline, making up 8.8% of site visits, down from 30% four years ago, and just 9.6% of sales.

Adobe predicts consumers using mobile apps will spend more time browsing and complete sales two times more often than the web.

Voice-assisted shopping is on the rise, with 21% of consumers reporting plans to use it to reorder frequently-purchased items and 17% placing one-time orders for store pickup.

Adobe expects holiday shoppers to ship and return purchases more often compared to the rest of the year. More consumers will stay home on Thanksgiving Day, with 60% planning to stay on the couch and digest, up from 40% in 2016.

The top revenue-driving marketing channels will be able to capitalize on loyal customers going directly to their site to make a purchase, with revenue per visit (RPV) rising to 36%, according to Adobe. Search has the highest RPV growth at 23%, followed by helper sites like RetailMeNot (15%) and email (8%).

Social referral traffic will generate 11% less RPV compared to Q4 in 2016, Adobe projects. It is the only marketing channel to see a decline in RPV, despite increased referral traffic from social media. This is attributed to customers’ weakening trust in social networks. Shoppers are also expected to consult social media sites 25% less for gift ideas this year.

Adobe Analytics analyzed one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 55 million SKUs and 80 of the largest 100 U.S. retailers, including large, medium and small retailers across more than 50 merchandise categories. Over 1,000 U.S. consumers were surveyed in October.



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