Economic worries aside, U.S. brands are headed for a robust holiday season, with year-over-year (YOY) digital revenue growth of 13% despite a shorter shopping period, according to a forecast from Salesforce.
Total U.S. sales should hit $136 billion from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31. Global revenue will grow at an even greater rate — 15% — and will reach a total of $768 billion.
These estimates are based on shopping data from over half a billion global shoppers, a study of ecommerce sites, and a survey of more than 10,000 consumers.
Email marketing will play a big role, with 68% of shoppers saying they pay more attention to brand emails during the holiday season. Last year, there was a 20% increase YOY in emails sent to shoppers during Cyber Week.
Mobile devices will account for 52% of digital order share. In addition, 70% of digital visits will come from a mobile device — a figure that will jump to 75% on peak days.
Instagram is also popular, with 37% of Gen Zers and 20% of consumers overall citing it as their preferred source of holiday shopping inspiration, the report says.
The shopping season will be one week shorter than last year’s, because Thanksgiving will fall six days later. Thus, retailers are expected to drive demand earlier in the cycle with special product drops, creative collaborations and limited inventory promotions, Salesforce says.
The Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving will generate a 22% sales rise YOY.
Expect to see discount rates grow by 9% the week before Cyber Week, and an average rate of 29% on Cyber Monday.
AI-driven personalization will help counter “the discount standoff between retailers and shoppers,” the study notes.
Benefits will also accrue to firms that offer click and collect (buy online and pick up in-store), thanks to the Dec. 14 ground shipping deadline. Brands with this service should see a 28% higher revenue share in the last five days of the season, while attracting 48% more active digital shoppers to their sites.
Who is an active shopper? Someone who creates baskets, starts check outages or conducts a site search.
Digital shoppers use an average of eight channels to engage with brands. But one in ten purchases are now being made not on actual retail sites but through digital intermediaries — i.e., social media, messaging platforms and voice assistants. Of course, younger consumers are 3.5 times more likely than older ones to shop using these services.
Here are some other predictions contained in the study: