New data from Internet Retailer and Adobe shows at least a 16% increase in online sales for the 2018 holiday season. Smartphone sales skyrocketed and represented 31% of sales.

Online shoppers spent $122.00 billion online this holiday season, according to Internet Retailer research data.

Internet Retailer estimates this is a 17.4% increase over the 2017 holiday season in November-December, when shoppers spent $103.88 billion. Internet Retailer points to high consumer confidence, a growing share of total retail purchases made online and shoppers’ increasing tendency to buy gifts online as the reason for the substantial increase.

Internet Retailer also estimates that total retail holiday sales increased 5.6% year over year and reached $719.77 billion for the 2018 holiday season, up from $681.61 billion last year. This means that e-commerce sales represented 16.9% of total retail sales during the holiday period up from 15.2% last year, according to Internet Retailer.

Data from research firm Adobe Inc. finds a similar hearty increase in online holiday sales. U.S. shoppers spent $125.91 billion online Nov. 1-Dec. 31, a 16.5% year-over-year increase from this time period last year, according to Adobe.

Adobe’s data is based on an analysis of more than 1 trillion visits to retail sites over the last 12 months. Adobe Analytics measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.


On 26 of the total 61 days this holiday season, shoppers spent at least $2 billion online, up 73% from 15 $2 billion-plus days last year, according to Adobe.

Mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, greatly contributed to this growth and accounted for 40% of total online sales, which includes 31% from smartphones alone, according to Adobe.

Shoppers spent $38.8 billion on smartphones during the holiday season, which is roughly a 34% increase over last holiday season when smartphones accounted for 23% of online sales.

The 2018 holiday season also marks the first time smartphones had the majority of web traffic at 51%, up from 46% in 2017. This came at desktop traffic’s expense as desktop devices represented 41% of traffic for the 2018 holiday season and 44% in 2017. Tablet traffic also decreased to 8% of traffic, down from 10% last year.


E-commerce platform provider and marketing vendor also reported strong mobile sales for the online holiday shopping season, which it measures as Nov. 20-Dec. 26.

According to aggregate data from 3,000 clients, 48% of orders were made via a smartphone and 66% of traffic was via a smartphone during the holiday season.

Overall, Salesforce reports a 12% increase in online holiday sales. It also finds that 80% of orders shipped for free during “Cyber Week” (Nov. 21-27) compared with only 68% of orders shipping for free after this time period until Dec. 26. That Nov. 21-27 period was responsible for 37% of the season’s online revenue, which is a 4% increase over last year, according to Salesforce.


Large retailers also are reporting their holiday online sales. Target Corp. (No. 17 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500) says online sales increased 29% during the November/December time frame compared with last year. Stores fueled its online orders, fulfilling 75% of online orders. Plus, stores handled 60% more products this year via buy online pick up in store, ship from store and curbside pickup than last year.

Kohl’s Corp. (No. 18) reported “double-digit digital growth” during the holiday season and attributed the growth to its omnichannel investments.

Macy’s Inc. (No. 6), however, is not projecting as merry of a holiday season as it announced this week that it is cuttings its profit and sales forecast for the year in part because of slower than expected holiday sales. The department store chain pointed to underperforming categories and a fire at its West Virginia distribution center that caused “temporary fulfillment challenges.”

“The holiday season began strong—particularly during Black Friday and the following Cyber Week, but weakened in the mid-December period and did not return to expected patterns until the week of Christmas,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement.


Macy’s did, however, say it “experienced another period of double-digit growth in our digital business.” Last year, Macy’s turned around a slump by improving its e-commerce sales, according to Bloomberg News.


>>Our online holiday sales page stays up to date on current holiday projections and post-holiday sales reports.

U.S. online sales reach $125.91 billion Nov. 1-Dec. 31

Online sales increase 16.5% year over year

Device Sales Traffic
Desktop $75.9 billion 41%
Tablet $11.2 billion 8%
Smartphone $38.8 billion 51%