Salesforce: Digital holiday spending looks strong

A shortened holiday selling season will not prevent double-digit growth in digital commerce revenue.

According to a new forecast from Salesforce, U.S. digital commerce revenue will grow 13% year-over-year (YOY) this holiday season, with total online sales reaching a record $136 billion in the U.S. and $768 billion globally.

With Thanksgiving falling later in the year, shoppers have six fewer days between Cyber Week (Nov. 25-Dec. 2) and Christmas (Dec. 25) to make their holiday purchases. Salesforce data indicates this will result in revenue being more evenly distributed throughout Cyber Week, with an increase in early bird shopping on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving driving 19% YOY growth in global digital revenue.

For Black Friday, digital revenue is forecast at $7.3 billion in the U.S. and $39.6 billion globally. Cyber Monday will bring in an addition $8.2 billion in the U.S and $32.2 globally.

Other key Salesforce insights include:
• Social will be a strong channel for early Cyber Week mobile buyers, with 10% of mobile purchases referred directly from social channels on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This day represents the highest rate of mobile purchases referred from social channels all season, even higher than for peak shopping days like Black Friday.

• With 83% of shoppers planning to shop in a physical store this holiday season, click-and-collect extends the digital purchasing and shopping window well beyond the shipping deadline. Retailers offering click and collect will drive 28% more revenue share across their industry during the five days before Christmas, with shoppers 48% more active on sites that offer click and collect during this timeframe. An active shopper is defined as those who create baskets, start checkouts, engage in site search, and other shopping activities.

• Gen Z shoppers are 3.5 times more likely than baby boomers to use emerging purchase points such as social media, messaging platforms and voice-enabled devices, which represent 10% of all digital purchases.

• Thirty-seven percent of Gen Z shoppers say Instagram will be their preferred source for holiday shopping inspiration. A rise in purchases on other alternative channels, like gaming platforms, is expected as well, with one in four millennials and Gen Z consumers expressing an interest in using gaming consoles to shop.

• Forty-seven percent of shoppers say they will only buy items on sale this holiday season. Shoppers also say sales or promo codes are the number one factor influencing their holiday purchases, with two-thirds paying more attention to companies’ emails during the holidays as they keep an eye out for attractive deals.

• Discount rates will grow 9% the week before Cyber Week. Cyber Monday will remain the best day of the year for the biggest digital discounts, with an average discount rate of 29%.