Salesforce: Digital holiday spend up 8% amid strong mobile growth

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Mobile devices helped push global digital spending to a new record during the 2019 holiday shopping season.

Online spending rose 8% during the 2019 shopping season, accounting for $723 billion in revenue worldwide, according to Salesforce’s 2019 Holiday Shopping Report. The report found that mobile reigned victorious as 2019 ended with mobile being the number one device driving digital traffic and orders. 

Reflecting the rapid growth of mobile as a shopping channel, the decade began with mobile driving very little digital traffic or orders. By comparision, on peak days during the 2019 holiday season, 80% of digital traffic and 65% of digital orders came  through a mobile device.

 Here are additional highlights from the Salesforce report. 

•    Brands push consumers to start holiday shopping early: Early marketing activity was a success in generating buzz the week leading up to Cyber Week, with digital traffic growing 13% over the same period in 2018. Shoppers filled their online baskets but waited for Cyber Week to place their orders, with digital orders up 9% over the same 2018 period.

•    AI eliminates guesswork for shoppers: Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered search and product recommendations drove additional revenue for retailers, as 10% of holiday digital orders and 5% of digital revenue came from AI-powered recommendations.

•    Cyber Week 2019 broke records: Global digital revenue grew 15% to a record $143 billion during Cyber Week 2019. Black Friday continued to be the number one global digital shopping day and in the U.S., it continued to pull revenue away from Cyber Monday. Across the globe, Thanksgiving Day emerged as a major shopping event with sales growing 24% year-over-year to $20 billion.

•    Early season buying frenzy leads to late-season softness: Digital revenues fell 27% year-over-year during the week leading up to Christmas. Salesforce analysis indicates this was likely due to a smoothing out of demand throughout the year due to manufactured holidays or going into physical stores on the cusp of the shipping cutoff date to avoid hassles with delivery.

•    Retailers with click-and-collect win later in the season:  Retailers offering click-and-collect on their e-commerce sites saw 56% more active digital shoppers (someone who uses a site search, adds a product to cart, starts a checkout or completes a transaction) in the last five days of the season. Additionally, those retailers also collected 18% more digital revenue share after the shipping cutoff.

For the report, Salesforce combined data on the activities of hundreds of millions of global shoppers across more than 30 countries powered by Salesforce Commerce Cloud, billions of consumer engagements powered by Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and millions of customer service cases viewed in Salesforce Service Cloud between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019.