Adobe expects U.S. online holiday sales to hit $209.7 billion in the period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, a 2.5% increase over holiday 2021. Adobe also expects more of this spending to come earlier in the season due to early shopping holidays such as the second Amazon Prime Day.
The projected growth is significantly lower than the 8.6% increase last year, much of which was due to more shoppers returning to stores. In 2022, the impact of economic uncertainty, particularly in rising prices of non-discretionary expenditures like gas, food and housing, will rein in consumer spending.
Additionally, the early shopping holidays are expected to impact Cyber Monday performance, though it will still grow 5.1% year-over-year to a record $11.2 billion. Black Friday is expected to generate 1% growth to reach $9 billion, while Thanksgiving sales will fall by $1 billion to $5.1 billion. These forecasts can be attributed to continued consumer enthusiasm for ecommerce even in a post-pandemic world with more physical stores open for business. As a result, Adobe expects the full Cyber Week (Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) to ring up $34.8 billion in sales, up 2.8% from 2021 and accounting for 16.3% of total holiday season spend.
Promotions are expected to hit record highs as retailers seek to manage inventory levels and draw in price-conscious shoppers. Discounts for computers are expected to be as high as 32% (up from 10% in 2021), while electronics discounts could hit 27% (up from 8%), and toys 22% (up from 19%).
Electronics also will be one of the three major ecommerce categories this season, driving $49.8 billion in spending, which is up 2.9% from 2021. Heavy promotions are expected to impact margins but attract enough customers to maintain growth. However, experts have noted that maintaining margin will be the key to holiday 2022 success.
Apparel also will be an important category, bringing in $40.7 billion in online spending, but that is actually down 6.7% from 2021. Adobe expects apparel to be one of the categories most heavily impacted by the return to physical stores, as shoppers feel more comfortable returning to in-person shopping.
Digital grocery sales will benefit both from buying habits formed during the pandemic (which caused more shoppers to make purchases online) and receding pandemic anxiety (leading to more in-person parties). Adobe expects grocery spending to hit $13.3 billion, up 10.5% year-over-year.
In terms of payments, BNPL is expected to continue growing, but at a reduced rate compared to previous years. The option grew 5% between January and September 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, and while the economic slowdown may help its growth continue, Adobe noted that the technology also faces the challenge of demonstrating its value to mass consumers.
Curbside pickup also is expected to grow slightly as an option. Adobe expects curbside pickup to peak from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23 (right before Christmas Eve) at approximately 35% of all online orders, compared to 25% of orders in December 2022. Curbside usage will remain at around 25% of orders in November 2022.