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KEY POINTS

  • US online holiday sales are expected to exceed $100 billion for the first time this year, according to Adobe. Based on Adobe Analytics, the firm projects that total online sales in November and December will reach $107.4 billion, up 13.8% from the same period last year.
  • Adobe expects Thanksgiving weekend online sales to approach $20 billion, representing one-sixth (or 18%) of holiday spending.
  • The firm expects Cyber Monday to be the biggest day for online sales over the extended Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend, surpassing Black Friday. Adobe projects that online spending will total $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday, up 16.5% year over year.
  • This year marks the first year in which Adobe expects mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to account for the majority of retail website visits over the holidays.
  • As indicated by social media activity, Adobe expects the top sellers in toys this year to be updated versions of 2016 hits such as Shopkins, Paw Patrol and Hatchimals. Past hits such as Nerf guns and the Teddy Ruxpin animatronic bear are also expected to be popular.
  • The top-selling consumer electronics gifts are expected to be wireless earbuds, virtual reality (VR) headsets and gaming consoles, and intelligent digital assistants, according to Adobe, based on social media activity.

Executive Summary

Forecasts call for a healthy holiday shopping season this year in the US, with the National Retail Federation (NRF) projecting that total sales will increase by 3.6%–4.0% and Adobe projecting that online holiday sales will exceed $100 billion for the first time. Much of this holiday spending will be concentrated around the weekend that starts on Thanksgiving and runs through Cyber Monday, and online spending over the long weekend could hit $20 billion this year, according to Adobe.

What is interesting, though, is that consumers are shopping both earlier and later than they used to and that online spending over both the Thanksgiving weekend and the holiday period overall is not growing as fast as aggregate e-commerce spending is. At the same time, mobile shopping has grown share, and Adobe projects that mobile devices will be the starting point for more than half of shoppers’ visits to retail websites this holiday season.

To gauge what the top-selling gifts are likely to be this year, Adobe looked at social media activity to see what items consumers are excited about. The firm found that many consumers are feeling nostalgic and are looking to buy revamped versions of toys from 2016 or even decades earlier. In terms of electronic gifts, consumers prefer wireless earbuds, VR and gaming consoles, and intelligent digital assistants this year, again based on social media activity.

 

US Online Holiday Sales Expected to Hit $100 Billion for the First Time

Online holiday sales in the US are expected to exceed $100 billion for the first time this year, according to Adobe, based on its Adobe Analytics solution. To be precise, Adobe predicts that total online sales will reach $107.4 billion over the November–December period, up 13.8% from the same period last year. By comparison, the NRF forecasts that total US holiday spending this year will reach $678.8–$682.0 billion, with online spending accounting for 15.7%–15.8% of that total.

The graph below shows online holiday sales in 2015 and 2016, according to Adobe, along with the firm’s estimate for 2017 online holiday sales. From the graph, we see that while online sales are expected to continue to grow, the growth rate is expected to continue to moderate.

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Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Expected to Hit Nearly $20 Billion

Adobe further estimates that online spending will total $19.7 billion during the Thanksgiving weekend, representing one-sixth (or 18%, more precisely) of total online holiday spending. The firm expects Cyber Monday to be the biggest sales day of the weekend (exceeding Black Friday), with online spending totaling $6.6 billion that Monday, up 16.5% year over year and growing faster than total online holiday spending.

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Thanksgiving Weekend and Holiday Season Online Sales Growth Is Decelerating

In the graph below, we see that online revenue growth rates are slowing for both the Thanksgiving weekend and the holiday season overall, according to Adobe. The Thanksgiving weekend growth rate appears to be decreasing faster than that of the holiday season, meaning that the long shopping weekend is becoming a less significant component of total online holiday shopping.

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Mobile to Represent More than Half of Site Visits

According to Adobe, this is the first year that mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are expected to account for the majority of retail site visits related to holiday shopping, as shown in the graph below.

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Toy Buyers Are Feeling Nostalgic This Holiday Season

To gauge what the top-selling gifts are likely to be this year, Adobe looked at social media activity to see what items consumers are excited about. The top sellers in toys this year are expected to include updated versions of 2016 hits, such as Shopkins, Paw Patrol and Hatchimals, according to social media buzz. Toys from the past such as Nerf guns and the Teddy Ruxpin animatronic bear are also expected to be popular.

Consumer Electronics Dominated by Earbuds, VR Headsets and Home Assistants

Based on social media activity, Adobe expects Apple AirPods, the Sony PlayStation VR, the Oculus VR headset and the Google Home device to be the top consumer electronics gifts this holiday season.

Conclusion

According to Adobe, this holiday shopping season is posed to set a couple of new records in the US: $100 billion in online spending and $20 billion in Thanksgiving weekend online spending. The firm also predicts that more than half of online holiday retail traffic will originate on mobile devices for the first time ever. According to social media activity as measured by Adobe, consumers are looking to buy updated toys from last year as well as wireless earbuds, gaming and VR consoles, and intelligent digital assistants as gifts this year.

 

 

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