The 2016 holiday season will be drawn out as shoppers start buying online early and continue shopping even after Christmas Day, according to Adobe Digital Insights’ “2016 Digital Insights Shopping Predictions” report, which was released today.
For example, 31% of U.S. consumers say they will start their holiday shopping before Nov. 1, up five percentage points from a year ago, according to Adobe’s survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers.
Come November, consumers are expected to shop online throughout the season. The report predicts that 57 of the 61 days in November and December will surpass $1 billion, including a streak of 53 consecutive $1 billion plus days. By comparison, the existing longest streak of consecutive $1 billion days occurred during last year’s holiday shopping season.
The report suggests that overall online holiday sales will grow 11.0% to $91.6 billion up from $82.5 billion last year. Just three days—Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday—will account for $8.4 billion, roughly 9.2% of those online sales, according to the Adobe study.
Adobe expects e-commerce sales on the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend, also known as Cyber Monday, to set a new record with $3.36 billion, up 9.4% over last year. But the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is often called Black Friday, is gaining on Cyber Monday as the biggest online sales day of the year. Adobe expects Black Friday sales to rise 11.3% to $3.05 billion, which would mark the first time it breaks $3 billion. And Thanksgiving is the fastest growing day during the season; Adobe expects online sales on Thanksgiving to grow 15.6% to $2 billion. By comparison, web sales on Amazon’s Prime Day event last July 12 were estimated at $2.5 billion for Amazon and its marketplace sellers, the vast majority of which involved domestic sales. If Adobe’s estimates prove accurate, Prime Day would rank as this year’s third busiest online shopping day in the U.S.
“The biggest online sales days keep getting bigger,” says Becky Tasker, managing analyst, Adobe Digital Insights. At the same time, the latter part of the holiday season is also growing. For instance, online sales during the final two weeks of December are expected to grow 24%, on average.
But the rising tide of e-commerce growth will not lift all retailers. Large retailers—those ranked in the top 100 of the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide—are expected to grow their online sales 16.6% during the holidays, while all other retailers are expected to grow 7%.
More shoppers will browse retailers’ websites and apps on their mobile devices. For example, Adobe expects mobile devices will account for 66% of visits to retail websites (and 46% of sales) on Christmas, 59% of site visits (and 41% of sales) on Thanksgiving and 57% of site visits (and 37% of sales) on Black Friday and 49% of site visits (and 32% of sales) on Cyber Monday. Mobile shoppers will account for the majority of visits—53%—to retail websites throughout the holiday season, which would be the first time that mobile traffic will exceed desktop visits throughout the season. Mobile shoppers also will account for 34% of sales in November and December.
The 19 percentage point disparity between mobile traffic and sales may be a sign that some consumers still aren’t as comfortable buying on a mobile device as they are on a desktop, Tasker says. “Retailers still face a behavioral gap between desktop and mobile,” she says. That’s evident when looking at conversion rates during last holiday season. Desktop shoppers had a 3.5% average conversion rate, compared to tablet shoppers’ 2.8% and smartphone shoppers’ 1.3%. Moreover, even if retailers drive shoppers to buy, the average order value last holiday season for desktop shoppers ($155) was 29.2% higher than smartphone shoppers ($120).
The report is based on Adobe’s analysis of 1 trillion visits to more than 4,500 retail websites and 55 million SKUs.