Holiday Season 2021 Shopping Data November 1 - 23

Adobe Early Insights on Online Shopping Ahead of the Biggest Shopping Weekend of The Year

This year we will bring updated shopping data from Adobe over the five-day shopping days (Cyber Weekend), covering Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

While many major retailers have opted to keep their doors closed on Thanksgiving, online destinations for these retailers are expected to be busy and full of deals on Thanksgiving Day.

In advance of the big shopping weekend from Thanksgiving Thursday to Cyber Monday, Adobe released initial shopping data covering November 1 to November 23.

The data comes from the Adobe Digital Economy Index and provides a comprehensive view of eCommerce in the US by analyzing direct consumer transactions online. It covers over one trillion visits to retail sites in the US, 100 million SKUs, and 18 product categories.

While Adobe’s data covers the bigger online retailers, it also provides good insight for small business online merchants to compare their sales to the overall big picture this year.

Between supply chain shortages, somewhat empty shelves in retail stores, and remembering the shipping chaos from last year, Adobe’s data confirmed early reports of many consumers shopping earlier this year.

To date, consumers have spent $72.2 billion online this season (Nov. 1 to Nov. 23), resulting in 19.8% growth Year-over-Year (YoY).

Adobe said this surging demand also highlights that even with persistent out-of-stock messages, shoppers are getting comfortable buying something that may not have been at the top of their list.

“We’re on our way to a massive, record-breaking $207 billion holiday shopping season, and Thanksgiving weekend will continue to play a major role, especially online, as many physical stores have decided to close on Thursday. As consumers are navigating a ‘one-two punch’ of inflation and supply chain concerns, they’ve already spent almost 20% more year-over year. It’s clear that they’re determined to forge ahead by spending earlier to get the items they want at the best possible prices. However, they will also compromise on buying gifts that weren’t necessarily first on their lists as popular items like electronics continue to be out of stock.” 

Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights

Holiday Season Shopping Data Highlights to Date 

Total spend: For the full season (Nov. 1 to Dec. 31), Adobe expects online sales to hit $207 billion, a 10% YoY increase, and a new record.

Cyber Monday: This day will remain the biggest online shopping day of the year with an expected $11.3 billion in sales, also a new record.

Thanksgiving Day: As already mentioned with many retail stores closed, consumers are expected to spend between $5.1 billion and $5.9 billion online on Thursday, setting another new record as well.

Season-to-date: Adobe has seen 23x $2 billion days and 16x $3 billion days. By comparison to last year to this point, there were 20x $2 billion days (+3) and only three $3 billion days (+13).

Top categories: So far this season, strong spending is primarily driven by Toys with sales up a whopping 256% vs. September driven by anxious parents worried about inventory challenges caused by supply chain disruptions. Other categories with increased spending are Video Games (up 160%), Groceries (up 110%), and Books (up 94%).

Out-of-stock: As of Wednesday, out-of-stock messages have risen 8% vs. Tuesday last week. So far in November, out-of-stock messages are up 227% vs. January 2020 (pre-pandemic levels) and up 261% vs. November 2019. Currently, Electronics are leading the way with the highest out-of-stock levels, followed by Personal Care products, Home and Garden products, Housekeeping supplies, and Baby & Toddler products. Earlier this month, Adobe had already reported that shoppers faced over 2 billion out-of-stock messaged in October alone.

Discounts: With persistent (17 consecutive months) online inflation (prices were up 1.9% YoY in October) paired with smaller discounts, consumers are still expected to spend 9% more during Cyber Week. With offline prices surging at a much greater rate, eCommerce remains the more convenient and less expensive shopping alternative.

Top sellers to date: Hoverboards, Nerf toys, Oculus QUEST 2, AirPods Pro, and MacBook Airs. Other top performers: HP laptops, Dell Notebooks, Chromecasts, Samsung & TCL TVs, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl.

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL): Being able to defer payments over a short-term without interest is becoming more appealing to consumers. BNPL so far has grown substantially vs. the 2019 season with revenue up 447% and orders up 466%. In recent weeks, growth has slowed slightly with BNPL revenue down 8.5% YoY, and orders down 20% YoY on 11/23.

Curbside pickup & Shipping: Anxious about shipping delays or opting for contactless shopping, curbside pickup remains very popular – up 92% vs. November 2019. On November 23 specifically, it was used in almost a quarter (23%) of all online orders (with retailers who offer the service). The use of expedited shipping through November 23 is up slightly 1% vs. pre-pandemic levels, with standard shipping up 42%. 

Small vs. large retailers: Smaller retailers ($10M – $50M in annual revenue) are seeing a slower increase in online sales vs. large retailers (over $1 billion in annual revenue). Large retailers are seeing a 12% boost in revenue over October levels vs. smaller counterparts. This results from large retailers’ ability to drive early sales through advanced deals and marketing.

Mobile shopping: Shopping on Smartphones accounted for 41.3% of all online sales so far, which is up 6.5% YoY. Interestingly, smartphone visits accounted for 59.4% share (up 1% YoY) suggesting consumers still prefer to browse on smartphones, with many choosing to make the purchase from their desktop or laptop.

Please check with us tomorrow as we will have another batch of data from Adobe covering Thanksgiving Day online sales.

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