Fueled by Discounts and BNPL, Online Holiday Sales Grow 4.9%

Online holiday sales increased 4.9% YoY, reaching $222.1 billion for the period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, according to Adobe Analytics. November’s sales total of $123.5 billion topped December’s $98.6 billion, fueled by strong Cyber Week sales of $38 billion.

Consumers responded to steep discounts in key ecommerce categories, including electronics, where discounts peaked at 31% off listed prices (versus 25% in 2022); toys (28% versus 34% last year); and apparel (24% versus 19%). Discounts in other categories ranged from 18% off appliance prices to 24% off for computers.

Buy now, pay later also fueled holiday spending, contributing $16.6 billion in online spend — an all-time high, according to Adobe data, and $2.1 billion more than in the previous holiday season, a 14%YoY increase.

“In an uncertain demand environment, retailers leaned on discounting and flexible payment methods to entice shoppers this holiday season,” said Vivek Pandy, Lead Analyst at Adobe Digital Insights in a statement. “The strategy was effective, driving record spend online during big days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday, and a record 11 days that surpassed $4 billion in daily spend this season.”


Other key data points for holiday 2023:

  • Mobile commerce overtook desktop, clocking 51.1% of online sales, up from 47% in 2022. Mobile shopping was highest on Christmas Day, when it drove 63% of online sales;
  • Curbside pickup remained popular, used for 18.4% of online orders (among retailers offering the service) and peaking on Dec. 22 and 23, when it drove 36.8% of online orders among consumers wanting to ensure they received their purchases on time; and
  • Paid search remained the biggest sales driver online, with 29.4% of sales attributable to that channel, followed by direct web visits (19.3%); affiliates/partners (16.6%); organic search (15.9%); and email (15.3%). Revenue directly attributable to social media remained at less than 5% of total sales, although its share grew 5% YoY.

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