Global online sales top $1 trillion this holiday season: Salesforce

Diving Brief:

  • Holiday shoppers in 2021 spent $1.14 trillion online globally and $257 billion in the US, helping retailers set new sales records, according to the 2021 Holiday Shopping Report from Salesforce emailed to Retail Dive.
  • The Salesforce report, which studied data from more than a billion consumers, attributes the surges in early November and late December to digital sales growth in 2021. Cyber ​​Week, on the other hand, saw a “moderate digital growth”, accounting for 23% of global sales. — a drop from 24% the previous year.
  • Luxury handbags are the category with the strongest annual growth in online sales with a 45% increase. The result reflects the fact that consumers are buying more items than they want rather than need, according to the report. Online sales of home furnishings increased by 34%, while general footwear increased by 32%.

Overview of the dive:

The report’s findings were driven by several trends, including early holiday buyers, social commerce and flexible payment options.

Because consumers wanted to avoid supply chain issues and out of stock30% of holiday sales worldwide were made by November 22. Retailers that offered curbside or in-store pickup achieved 62% of final global sales.

The role of social commerce in the consumer buying journey is becoming increasingly relevant. During the holidays, 4% of global online sales via mobile devices were made through a social media app, with 10% of mobile traffic coming from social media users. By 2023, another Salesforce report estimates that 25% of purchases will take place outside of a retailer or brand’s website, app, or physical location.

Inflation also persisted alongside holiday shopping. Prices in the United States are up 25% year over year. Consumers have relied on buy now, pay later services amid price hikes and fewer discounts with holiday usage rising 40% annually.

But despite inflation, shipping delays and the novel COVID-19 variant, online sales still grew from 2020 numbers. Consumers spent $1.1 trillion online globally and 236 billion dollars in the United States in 2020.

“Despite the ongoing pandemic and myriad hurdles such as supply chain logistics, low inventory and fewer discounts, consumers flocked online to close out this holiday shopping season with a bang,” said Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail at Salesforce. “As we enter a new year, retailers must push their brands to platforms such as social media, games, messaging and the metaverse to engage shoppers where they discover and purchase products. They must also redouble efforts to reinvent physical stores to support ever-evolving digital experiences.”

Even in an increasingly digital environment, physical stores continue to play an important role during the holidays. From generation to demand fulfillment, physical stores influenced 60% of global digital sales during the period.


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David A. Albanese