Thanksgiving is typically the firestarter for the holiday shopping season. The time for giving and the time for receiving. Yet this year, things worked out differently, and the shopping season struck in 2020 with the advent of Amazon’s delayed Prime Day, which kicked off on October 13-14.
Last year, ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving hit a record of $4.2 billion, a boost of 14.5% increase from 2018.
With 2020 being the year of all digital all the time, there was a lot of anticipation for a bountiful Thanksgiving in terms of online sales.
However, online sales on Thanksgiving hit $5.1 billion, up 21.5% on the previous year. With online shoppers taking advantage of early deals this year, it has softened the sales surge for Thanksgiving.
One of the key insights, if you dive into the data, is that 47% of sales came from mobile, as we witness the continuing advancement of mobile ecommerce, that includes mobile banking, digital wallets like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and in-app purchasing.
With mobile commerce continuing its long march to dominance, gobbling up more and more market share of total ecommerce sales. As phones have gotten smarter, technology smaller, and companies more attuned to consumer behavior, mobile has gone from barely a few percentage points of total ecommerce share to, as of Thanksgiving sales, half of the pie.
Brands and retailers have been doing a lot to ensure their sites are fit for the small rectangular screen, to make it easier to navigate and provide better online shopping experiences. And there’s lots of tech to tailor experience for mobile.
Take Salesforce Commerce Cloud, for example. In the ecommerce platform’s latest version, Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA), it puts the mobile experience at the forefront. In fact, if you’re a brand or retailer that has mobile as the dominant part of your ecommerce strategy, then you’re likely already using Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Actually, we wrote a whole article about SFCC’s latest version, SFRA.
The 21.5% jump may be much higher than last season’s, but it was hyped to be much higher. Taking into account the average annual growth of 40.3% by the time 2020 ends, plus the 34.9% increase in ecommerce sales between November and December, the Thanksgiving figures weren’t a great performance.
Yet if you had asked many analysts (over here!) leading up to Thanksgiving what the numbers would be, they would have said that given the longer spread of the holiday shopping season, sales will look flatter while stretching for longer.
“While yesterday was a record-breaking Thanksgiving Day with over $5 billion spent online,” said Director of Adobe Digital Insights, Taylor Schreiner, “it didn’t come with the kind of aggressive growth rate we’ve seen with the start of the pandemic.
“Heavy discounts and aggressive promotions starting in early November succeeded at getting consumers to open their wallets earlier.”