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01/12/2021

Digital global holiday spend skyrockets year-over-year

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Consumers spent 50% more online globally during the 2020 holiday season than they did in the 2019 holiday season.

According to the new Salesforce 2020 Holiday Shopping Report, consumers spent $1.1 trillion online worldwide and $236 billion in the U.S., compared to $723 billion worldwide and $165 billion in the U.S. in 2019. Total Cyber Week (Nov. 26-30) digital sales reached $270 billion globally and $60 billion in the U.S., while the first two weeks of December accounted for $181 billion in global sales and $39 billion in the U.S.

Salesforce data also indicates retailers with curbside, drive-through and in-store pickup options outperformed those without these services. U.S. retailers that offered these options increased digital revenue by 49% on average year-over-year, while retailers that didn’t only saw 28% average growth. Retailers offering curbside, drive-through and in-store pickup options also experienced 54% digital revenue growth year-over-year in the five days leading up to Christmas, compared to 34% growth for those that didn’t.  

Other interesting data points from the study include:
•    Buy now, pay later usage saw a year-over-year increase of 109%, with the biggest increase taking place the week before Christmas.
•    Revenue for sporting goods grew 108% compared to the previous year, Home goods grew 89% and food and beverage kept pace with 80% growth. Active apparel (35%), footwear (39%) and general apparel (40%) experienced the least growth in revenue during the 2020 holiday season. 
•    Salesforce expects over $330 billion in online purchases are expected to be returned globally (30% of all purchases made). 

“The 2020 holiday season was defined by the pandemic and forced retailers and brands to innovate quickly with the introduction of services like curbside pickup, virtual concierges and a focus on social, messaging and live streaming to reach shoppers in new ways,” said Rob Garf, VP, industry strategy for retail, Salesforce. “We expect to see these new innovations remain in 2021 with holiday strategies becoming the new standard that consumers expect from their favorite retailers and brands.”

Salesforce combined data and holiday insights on the activity of over one billion global shoppers across more than 40 countries powered by Commerce Cloud, billions of consumer engagements and millions of public social media conversations through Marketing Cloud, and customer service data powered by Service Cloud.