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Holiday Shopping Milestones with Weeks Left to Go

Holiday shopping
Holiday Shopping Milestones with Weeks Left to Go

The Thanksgiving holiday kicks off a big weekend of holiday shopping, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But the National Retail Federation (NRF) said that while Thanksgiving weekend remains an extremely important milestone for retail sales, it does not necessarily define the holiday season any longer. “Black Friday used to kick off the holiday shopping season, but times have changed,” it said.

Despite early shopping this year, the NRF believes there’s enough consumer firepower remaining to make this the strongest holiday season in decades. That’s despite wildcard factors such as inflation and COVID-19, according to NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.

Here’s a roundup of some Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping data and trends released over the past week. Note that while Amazon, BigCommerce, and Shopify published information about holiday weekend performance, we didn’t see any such news from eBay or Etsy as of Sunday evening.

Another thing to note: some reports indicated there were higher prices and fewer discounts this season. How much of the holiday sales growth was from people paying more for their gifts?

NRF: In-store and Online Sales Exceeded Expectations

In total, 179.8 million unique shoppers made in-store and online purchases during the holiday weekend, exceeding NRF’s initial expectations by over 21 million. The figure compares with 186.4 million shoppers in 2020 and is in line with the average of the last four years.
(NRF press release)

Amazon: Record-breaking Sales

Amazon was as vague as always, saying it experienced a “record-breaking” Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Top-selling categories included Home, Toys, and Apparel, and it listed some best-selling items.
Amazon also noted that over half of sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday were from independent “selling partners,” most of which are small and medium-sized businesses.
(Amazon blog post)

ABA: Online Sales at Indie Bookstores Expected to Continue Strong

The American Booksellers Association (ABA) saw online sales of their members for Black Friday (November 26, 2021) through Cyber Monday (November 29, 2021) rise 217.51% compared to the same period in 2019. However, online sales revenue was not as high as in 2020, when many customers felt more comfortable shopping online due to the pandemic, compared to this year when bookstores allowed in-store shopping.

The ABA expects elevated online sales to continue over the next two weeks, with sales spikes occurring December 4 and 5 as well as the following weekend. “Online sales and traffic will then slowly taper down to normal levels as we approach Christmas Eve,” the organization wrote in a post on its website. “As we learn more about the Omicron COVID variant, in-store and online sales may be impacted.”
(American Booksellers Association blog post)

BigCommerce: Mobile Accounted for 42% of Orders

BigCommerce merchants saw a 15% increase in GMV (sales) over 2020 and a 103% increase over the last two years. (It didn’t provide any indication of how much growth came from new-store sales on its platform.)

Mobile orders accounted for 42% of all Cyber Week orders. And social commerce saw a 98% increase in GMV over 2020 with Facebook taking the largest share.

BigCommerce merchants saw an increase in online sales in October, with the week of October 17–23 showing the largest spike in sales growth across the holiday season to date.
(BigCommerce press release)

Shopify: 23% Increase over Last Year

Ecommerce platform Shopify saw a 23% increase in sales from the more than $5.1 billion reported for Shopify’s 2020 Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend. It was more than double its merchants’ sales from the same holiday shopping weekend in 2019. (It didn’t provide any indication of how much growth came from new-store sales on its platform.)

47 million consumers globally purchased from independent and direct-to-consumer brands powered by Shopify. And globally, 71% of Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales were made on mobile devices compared to 29% on desktop.
(Shopify press release)

Mastercard: Cyber Monday Online Sales up 8.7%

“E-commerce continues to dominate the retail landscape as the latest Mastercard SpendingPulse insights show an 8.7% increase in sales on Cyber Monday compared to last year,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard.
(Mastercard report)

Numerator: Shoppers Returned to Stores, Amazon Wins Black Friday

Shoppers returned to stores this year, with 32% of shoppers surveyed saying they did most or all of their Cyber Weekend shopping online, compared to nearly half (46%) of Cyber Weekend 2020 shoppers who said the same, according to Numerator. Another 16% said they did all of this year’s shopping in-store, up from 11% last year.

Numerator also said Amazon won Black Friday for the second year in a row, capturing 17.7% of overall Black Friday online sales.
(Numerator report)

Salesforce: Higher Prices, Fewer discounts

Cyber week gave way to “Cyber November”: Holiday shopping began in earnest at the beginning of November with U.S. consumers spending $136B (up 9% YoY) and global consumers spending $593B (up 3% YoY) online since the start of the holiday (Nov. 2-29).

Consumers experience higher prices and fewer discounts: Holiday inflation coupled with lower discounts meant deals were harder to find this year. Over Cyber Week, the Average Selling Price (ASP) was up 11% in the United States and 5% globally compared to last year. Meanwhile, the average discount over Cyber Week was 26% in the United States (down 8% YoY) and 24% globally (down 8%).
(Salesforce report)

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.