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Online holiday sales grew 4.9% in 2023, driven largely by electronics, apparel, furniture, groceries and toys, according to Adobe Analytics.

U.S. online holiday spending reached $221.1 billion in 2023, according to Adobe Analytics. That’s in line with Adobe’s projection of $221.8 billion. Online holiday spending in the U.S. grew 4.9% over Adobe’s recorded $211.7 billion in 2022, setting a new ecommerce record. 

The holiday season encompasses online spending between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 across 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs and 18 categories. 


The majority of online holiday shopping happened in November, boosted by a strong Cyber 5. U.S. consumers spent $123.5 billion online in November, a 6% year-over-year increase. $38.0 billion of that spending took place between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, growing 7.8% over 2022.

The other $98.6 billion in U.S. online sales were recorded in December. Retailer sales that continued on past Cyber Monday drove some of that December spending, Adobe says.


Holiday spending by category

65% of online holiday spending in 2023 was in just five of the 18 categories Adobe tracks.

Top categories by online holiday spending:

  • Electronics ($50.8 billion)
  • Apparel ($41.5 billion)
  • Furniture ($27.3 billion)
  • Groceries ($19.1 billion)
  • Toys ($7.7 billion)

TVs, smart speakers, tablets, Bluetooth headphones, and smart watches ranked among the most popular online purchases during the holiday period. Pajamas, sneakers, and cold-weather items like sweatshirts dominated apparel sales. Popular furniture purchases included barstools, throw pillows and Christmas decor.  

Aside from the top categories, skin care serums and moisturizers, vacuums, and small kitchen appliances were also top sellers, Adobe says.

Categories with the highest sales also recorded some of the largest discounts. Electronics discounts peaked at 31% off listed prices, followed by toys (28%) and apparel (24%).


Buy now, pay later (BNPL) in holiday spending

BNPL was used as a payment method in more online sales than ever this year, according to Adobe. It contributed $16.6 billion in online spending, an increase of 14% and $2.1 billion over the same period in 2022. U.S. consumers used BNPL for $9.2 billion in online purchases in November, up 17.5% year over year. Cyber Monday was the biggest BNPL day in history, accounting for $940 million in sales, up 42.5%.

“In an uncertain demand environment, retailers leaned on discounting and flexible payment methods to entice shoppers this holiday season,” Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement. “The strategy was effective, driving record spend online during big days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday, and a record 11 days that surpassed $4 billion in daily spend this season.”

The holiday season contributed to a huge year for BNPL use, accounting for $75 billion in online spending in 2023, up 14.3% from 2022.


Other holiday spending takeaways

Mobile shopping overtook desktop online sales for the first time in 2023. 51.1% of online sales across the holiday season were made via smartphones in 2023, up from 47% in 2022, Adobe says. Mobile sales peaked on Christmas Day at 65%, from 61% in 2022. Consumers made purchases on final holiday deals while spending time with friends and family, Adobe says.

Meanwhile, curbside pickup dipped slightly, though it still remains popular. It was used as a fulfillment method in 18.4% of online orders from retailers offering the option. That’s down from 21% in 2022. Usage peaked ahead of Christmas Eve on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, accounting for 36.8% of orders during that time frame. Major retailers including Walmart and Target promoted their curbside capabilities through Christmas Eve.

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