An uncertain economic environment and a fall version of Amazon Prime Day may impact online holiday sales in 2022.
U.S. online holiday sales are expected to increase 2.5% to $209.7 billion from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, according to Adobe's online shopping forecast for the 2022 holiday season. By contrast, during the 2021 holiday shopping season, Adobe measured $204.5 billion spent online (growing 8.6% year-over-year), with consumers at that time uncertain about returning to physical stores due to lingering pandemic concerns.
Based on Adobe Analytics data, the report provides a comprehensive view into U.S. e-commerce by analyzing commerce transactions online.
Massive discounts expected
Adobe expects that discounts will hit record highs (upwards of 32%) this holiday season, as retailers contend with oversupply and a softening consumer spending environment. Computers, electronics and toys will hit all-time highs: Discounts for computers are expected to be as high as 32% (up from 10% in 2021), while electronics discounts are set to hit 27% (up from 8%), and toys at 22% (up from 19%).
Other major discount categories forecast by Adobe include televisions at 19% (vs. 11% in 2021), apparel at 19% (vs. 13%), appliances at 18% (vs. 4%), sporting goods at 17% (vs. 6%) and furniture & bedding at 11% (vs. 2%).
The biggest discounts are expected to hit between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. While the days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday are set to have the best deals, Adobe says consumers will see bargains as early as the second week of October, where discounts are expected to be as high as 15%. Deals will also persist through the remainder of the year, with discounts as high as 20% in the weeks after Cyber Monday (Nov. 29 through Dec. 31).
Consumers are expected to spend earlier this year, as the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale (Oct. 11-12) kicks off before the holiday season begins. According to Adobe, these discounts will entice some consumers to start their shopping sooner, impacting Cyber Week performance.
Adobe also expects that the holiday season will be impacted by an uncertain economic environment, as shoppers contend with elevated prices offline (food, gas, housing) and the rising cost of borrowing.Cyber Monday is expected to remain the season’s and year’s biggest shopping day, driving a record $11.2 billion in spending, increasing 5.1% YoY.
By comparison, Adobe expects Black Friday online sales to grow by just 1% YoY at $9 billion, while Thanksgiving sales are set to fall to $5.1 billion, down 1% YoY. Adobe says these major shopping days are losing prominence as e-commerce becomes a more ubiquitous daily activity, and as consumers see discounts continuing throughout the full season.
Adobe expects the entire Cyber Week (Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) promotion will bring in $34.8 billion overall, up 2.8% YoY. This represents a 16.3% share of the full season, down from 16.6% in 2021.
Insights into the three major e-commerce categories
Collectively, Adobe predicts electronics, apparel and groceries will contribute $103.8 billion in online spending this holiday season, nearly half of what Adobe expects for overall spending ($209.7 billion).
Adobe expects electronics to drive $49.8 billion of online spending, up 2.9% YoY. Heavy discounts will impact margins and spending, but attract enough shoppers to maintain growth.
In apparel, shoppers are expected to spend $40.7 billion online this season. This 6.7% YoY decline will reflect increasing consumer interest in physical stores, as pandemic-related anxieties subside, according to Adobe.
Adobe expects groceries to drive $13.3 billion of spending online (growing 10.5% YoY) as consumers plan holiday meals.
Curbside pickup to hit late season peak
In December 2021, Adobe says curbside pickup was used in 25% of all online orders, as consumers looked for faster and safer ways to shop. Adobe expects curbside pickup to peak from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23, 2022 (right before Christmas Eve) at around 35% of all online orders, while remaining around 25% through November 2022. In an Adobe survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers, 35% of respondents plan to use curbside pickup this season.
Adobe analysis covers over 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs and 18 product categories. Adobe Analytics is part of Adobe Experience Cloud, which over 85% of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S.