American flags in a shopping bag

Retailers Offset Shorter 2019 Holiday Season With Early Online Deals

With six less days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year than last, retailers are wasting no time trying to make up for the shorter holiday season. Offers for discounts and deals kicked off even before the kiddies headed out for trick-or-treating. 

From Nov. 1 through 11, consumers spent $19.7 billion online, up 17.5% YoY, according to Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), which uses Adobe Analytics to track online spend at 80 out of the top 100 e-retailers in the United States. Furthermore, every single one of those days surpassed $1 billion in spend, and two even hit the $2 billion mark.

2019 Holiday Shopping Trends
holiday online shopping predictions
2019 Holiday Shopping Trends

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“We’re just about two weeks into the 2019 online holiday shopping period, and we are already seeing tremendous growth in online sales,” said Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst at ADI. “Consumers are seeing bigger discounts earlier this year than in years past as retailers push to offset the shorter period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

The main driver of growth for the 11-day period? Veterans Day (Nov. 11) and the day prior. Indeed, consumers spent $2.7 billion on Veterans Day—up 38% YoY. Most surprising, however, was that consumers spent $2 billion on Sunday, Nov. 10.

“Given how sales have been tracking in this shortened holiday season, we reaffirm our full holiday season, Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, forecast of $143.7 billion spent online, which is 14% growth YoY,” Schreiner said. (Adobe’s full holiday forecast can be found here. Online spending also is being tracked in real time here.)

Top products sold included LG TV’s, Pokemon Sword/Shield, L.O.L Surprise Dolls, Pikmi pops, Fortnite Toys, and Nintendo Switch Lite. Veterans Day deals also meant consumers could purchase computers at a 10.5% discount and televisions at 16% off compared with October prices. Last year’s discounts didn’t reach these levels until Thanksgiving Day.

As the ADI predicted, consumers are using smartphones to make purchases more than ever. Thus far, more than one-third (34.5%) of all e-commerce sales have been made via smartphone, up 25.4% YoY. Additionally, buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) has seen strong growth, generating 26% more sales during the first 11 days of November this year over last year.

Unsurprisingly, the retail giants were the big winners on Veterans Day, with an 82.2% boost in revenue over an average day, while the smaller online retailers saw a 40.7% lift.

Despite this record-setting weekend, U.S. sales were dwarfed by a single day of online shopping in China. Singles’ Day, the popular Chinese retail holiday–also on Nov. 11 this year–saw $38 billion in sales, representing an increase of almost 25% YoY.

“We are seeing a trend in the U.S. where retailers build up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday with a cascade of promotions and deals,” Schreiner said. This may be one of the best years for consumers to date as promotional price discounts are much deeper than they were at this time last year.”

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