More than $1 in every $4 spent on retail purchases during the 2021 holiday season will come from online orders, Digital Commerce 360 estimates.

After online spending over the five-day stretch from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday fell a little short of 2020’s total and November retail figures have come more into focus, Digital Commerce 360 tempered its forecast for the overall holiday season.

Digital revenue for the all-important November-December period still is expected to surpass the $200-billion mark for the first time—reaching $212.28 billion in U.S. ecommerce sales, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. That’s up from $192.19 billion over the same two months in 2020. But the revised 10.5% year-over-year growth is lower than the previously projected—and already moderate—12.1% jump from the prior year’s Cyber 5.

U.S. consumers spent $33.90 billion online during Cyber 5, which was just shy of the record $34.36 billion for the same period in 2020, according to data from Adobe Analytics. The small 1.4% drop was in part driven by earlier holiday buying, with shoppers acutely aware that there might not be enough goods to go around.

Shoppers spent $109.80 billion online from Nov. 1-Nov. 29, which is up 11.9% over last year, according to data from Adobe Analytics. Discounting and spending are expected to slow in December, while surges in out-of-stock messages will persist.


Even so, Digital Commerce 360 estimates that $1 in every $4 spent on retail purchases during the 2021 holiday season will come from online orders. The digital share of total retail sales will hit 25.1%. And retail sales through all channels—including physical stores—are likely to rise a revised 9.8% for the season, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. Shoppers will spend $846.63 billion overall, up from $771.06 billion last year, according to Digital Commerce 360.

Adobe’s analysis is based on more than 1 trillion visits to more than 4,500 U.S. retail sites and covers 100 million SKUs in 18 product categories. The firm measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 online retailers ranked in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.

For holiday forecasting, Digital Commerce 360 analyzes historical sales and growth for the U.S. ecommerce and total retail markets and the trajectory of online penetration, identifying trends in consumer spending habits during peak shopping periods and gleaning insights from retail shifts during the pandemic. The research team also examines the year-to-date performance of hundreds of public retailers, merchants’ Q4/holiday season or year-end projections, sales trends by merchandise category, consumer and retailer surveys, traffic patterns to retail websites, shipment volume data, economic indicators such as U.S. consumer sentiment and more.