The run up to the big Thanksgiving shopping weekend is already well underway and online shoppers are expected to open their digital wallets and spend.
But so far, web merchants aren’t seeing consumers opening their wallets all the way. And when they do, pre-Thanksgiving web shoppers are looking for the best deals online retailers have to offer, according to the Salesforce Shopping Index. The index is a benchmark that aggregates and analyzes data from across Salesforce’s Customer 360 platform. It includes 29 of the top 30 U.S. online retailers.
“Early online holiday sales are down in the United States (-2%) and up only 3% globally year over year (YoY), indicating that consumers are still searching for the biggest and best deals of the season,” Salesforce says. “After three years of increasing inflation, consumers are buying — albeit cautiously — by making tradeoffs, comparing prices, and looking for the best deals.”
Momentum is picking up as Cyber Week approaches.
“With a quarter of all holiday sales expected to take place during Cyber Week, this will be the time for retailers to pull out all the stops — including promotions, loyalty rewards, financing options, and personalized product recommendations to drive shoppers to buy,” says Rob Garf, Salesforce vice president and general manager of retail.
Here’s what web merchants can look at in the days ahead of the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, according to the Salesforce Shopping Index.
1. Building a head of steam
While Amazon Prime’s “Big Deal Days” has become the symbolic start to the holiday season, shopping really picked up during the first two weeks of November.
- Globally, online traffic (+17%), product views (+17%), and sales (+19%) were each up by double digits during the first two weeks of November compared with the same period in October.
- U.S. online traffic (+20%), product views (+22%), and sales (+25%) were also up by double digits.
2. Key indicators to watch
Online traffic grows ahead of Cyber Week.
- Digital traffic was up 5% globally and 5% in the U.S. year over year as consumers started their searches for holiday gifts in early fall.
Holiday shoppers walk before they run.
- Consumers browsed but held off on buying in the early holiday season. Product views grew by 6% globally and 5% in the U.S. as global sales either declined or just slightly increased.
AI continues to power the path to purchase.
- 16% of orders globally and 14% of U.S. orders were influenced by artificial intelligence. Since the start of October — through avenues such as AI-powered product recommendations, targeted promotions, and product descriptions.
3. More key indicators
Brands scale and automate service.
- In the run-up to the deluge of customer service queries, chatbot sessions increased 35% year over year globally during this time, allowing brands to provide efficient responses on basic questions while spending more time driving personalized experiences with their loyal shoppers.
Shoppers choose alternative payment methods at checkout.
- The use of BNPL (buy now, pay later) grew 5% globally and 7% in U.S., whereas mobile wallet channels like Apple Pay grew at a massive rate of 65% globally and 53% in the U.S.
Digital marketing messages grow in the lead up Cyber Week.
- Retailers are focusing on marketing promotions on digital channels. Email marketing messages grew 8% globally year over year.
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