Online sales hit their targets this holiday season. E-commerce sales increasing by double digits year over year, according to data released today from Adobe Inc. and web measurement firm comScore Inc.
U.S. online sales totaled $91.7 billion, up 10.5% from $83.0 billion in 2015 and slightly higher than Adobe Digital Insights’ projection of $91.6 billion for the Nov. 1-Dec. 31 period, Adobe says. Of the 61-day holiday period, 57 generated more than $1 billion in sales, says Adobe. Findings are based on 24.6 billion visits to retail websites and Adobe says it measures 80% of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. online retailers as ranked by Internet Retailer.
Consumers making online purchases on desktop and laptop computers spent $63.1 billion during the 2016 holiday season, up 11.9% compared with $56.4 billion in 2015, comScore said Thursday. Desktop online spending exceeded $1 billion on 30 days during the holiday period compared with 16 days that hit the $1 billion milestone in 2015. U.S. e-retailing’s first billion-dollar day occurred on Cyber Monday in 2010 (Nov. 29).
Mobile sales are expected to push online sales growth figures for the November-December period to the upper teens, according to comScore. “We saw strong mobile commerce spending in November, with mobile’s share of total e-commerce coming in well ahead of the 20% mark it reached in Q3,” says comScore CEO Gian Fulgoni. “Once December mobile commerce data is tallied, we expect spending from smartphones and tablets to lift holiday spending growth from 12% on desktop to within our original forecast range of 16-19%.”
Consumers also overcame “early season malaise” to drive healthy growth rates from Thanksgiving to Free Shipping Day (Dec. 16), and a season highlight includes a 22-day streak of billion-dollar spending days on desktop, Fulgoni says. “Looking back on the season as a whole, 2016 marked another year where digital—and in particular, mobile—grew its spending share and influence relative to traditional brick-and-mortar retail,” he said.
Adobe says mobile generated $28.43 billion in revenue, a 23% year-over-year increase. Of that, $19.26 billion was transacted on smartphones and $9.17 billion on tablets. Mobile also drove 50% of site visits (41% smartphones; 9% tablets) and 31% of purchases (21% smartphones; 10% tablets), according to Adobe. During the 2015 holiday season, mobile accounted for 50% of site visits (39% smartphones, 11% tablets) and generated 28% of sales (17% smartphones; 11% tablets).
“It’s not just the total online sales figure that made this a historic holiday shopping season,” Tamara Gaffney, Adobe Digital Insights principal analyst and director, says. “This year, Black Friday set a new record by surpassing the three-billion-dollar mark for the first time at $3.34 billion, with high growth in the evening hours. We also saw big gains in mobile spend, with Black Friday becoming the first day in retail history to drive over $1 billion in mobile revenue,” she said.
Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) retains its spot as the top online spending day in the United States. Desktop sales on Cyber Monday were $2.67 billion, up 17.1% from $2.28 billion in 2015, comScore says. Adobe Digital Insights’ data, which includes mobile sales figures, in November pegged Cyber Monday online spending at a record $3.45 billion, up 12.4% from $3.07 billion the year before.
The holiday season continued to give, even after Dec. 25.
E-commerce traffic volume to U.S. retailers increased 25% on New Year’s Day compared with Jan. 1, 2016, according to data from the Verizon Retail Index, which measures traffic to 25 large U.S.-based online retailers.
Online browsing and buying continued to grow in the days right after Christmas, throughout Hanukkah (which was Dec. 24-Jan. 1) and into New Year’s weekend as consumers likely redeemed gift cards and shopped year-end clearances, according to Verizon. “As anticipated, gift cards, returns and deals motivated consumers to rally for the post-Christmas shopping season as retailers ushered in the new year by offering great promotions to move inventory and finish the year strong,” says Michele Dupré, group vice president of retail, hospitality and distribution for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
The International Council of Shopping Centers’ Post-Holiday Shopping Survey indicates omnichannel retailers had a good holiday season, with 70% of total holiday-related spending occurring in stores that have a physical and an online presence. The ICSC is a trade group representing shopping center operators.
Among shoppers who bought items online and then picked up their purchase from the retailer’s store, 61% bought additional goods in person. Among millennial shoppers who used buy online, in-store pickup services, 75% made an additional purchase in the store, according to the ICSC survey, which was conducted online Dec. 27-28 and represents a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,030 adults.
86% of millennials used a mobile device while shopping in stores this holiday and 96% made a purchase from those retailers. Of those millennials who used a mobile device while shopping in a store, 52% compared prices, 40% checked product availability or inventory, 37% called up digital discounts or coupons, and 33% read reviews or ratings, the survey found (respondents could give more than one answer).
“The convergence of physical and digital continues to be important as consumers have come to expect an integrated experience allowing them to buy products through a variety of channels,” says Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “The survey data proves that omnichannel retailers are the real winners this season as they offer purchasing options that satisfy the shopping behaviors of all generations.”