Record Discounting, 'Pay Later' To Drive Holiday Gains

Supersized changes are coming to online shopping this season, as Adobe predicts a 4.8% growth in ecommerce this holiday, rising to $221.8 billion.

Adobe, which bases predictions on online transactions, including more than 1 trillion site visits, predicts discounts and markdowns will again reach record levels this year, inspiring people to buy more. And amid economic uncertainty and drawn-down savings, it also anticipates a record number of people will opt for 'buy now pay later’ options, creating $17 billion in sales. That’s up 16.9% year over year.

The pay-later option “has become increasingly mainstream and will make it easier for shoppers to hit the buy button,” says Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing at Adobe, in the report. That’s especially true on mobile devices, where Adobe predicts 51.2% of online sales will take place this year.



Use of these deferred payment options has grown steadily throughout the year, Adobe says, up 14.7% in 2023 compared to last year.

Adobe’s data also confirms other forecasts, including research from Gartner and Deloitte, that people are shopping earlier. Shopping events like Amazon Prime Big Deal Days, Target Circle Week and Walmart Deals Holiday Kickoff are encouraging shoppers to tackle their list in October, weeks ahead of the traditional Thanksgiving starting line.

Those events intensify consumers’ lust for markdowns, and Adobe expects discounts to peak at 35% off the listed price for toys, 30% for electronics and 25% for apparel.

That’s not to say they won’t shop according to the usual cycles, the San Jose, California-based software giant says. Adobe anticipates Cyber Week, the stretch between Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, will see the deepest discounting. Sales that week will likely generate $37.2 billion in online spending, up 5.4% from last year. That would represent 16.8% of the holiday season.

The company forecasts consumer stampedes for Lego Minifigures, Kanoodle 3D, and products related to the “Barbie” movie based on search trends.

Other popular gifts are likely to be iPhone 15 models and Birkenstock Bostons.

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