Skip to main content

Salesforce: Early holiday shopping is driving digital sales

Digital sales are already being affected by the holidays.

New data from Salesforce shows digital commerce revenue is already rising, with few signs that economic and logistical headwinds are slowing them down.

According to Salesforce digital commerce sales data, with consumers kicking off holiday shopping early, digital commerce revenue is up 18% in the U.S. and 8% globally year-over-year (YoY). Average selling price (ASP) is up so far in the 2021 holiday season compared to the previous year, with prices rising 12% in the U.S. and 11% globally. 

Retailers have pulled back on early season discounts with rates in the U.S. down 16% and 10% globally YoY. Product categories with the most YoY growth to start the holiday shopping season include luxury handbags (up 59%), furniture (up 44%), and footwear (up 37%).

In the U.S., retail catalogs (number of products being sold) grew by 1% between Nov. 1 – 15, 2021. In 2020, catalogs grew 20% over the same period. Global catalogs actually saw a 4% shrinkage between Nov. 1-15 (compared to a 34% growth in 2020).

So far, U.S. and global digital sales growth is exceeding predictions Salesforce made in its 2021 Holiday Insights study. Released in late September, that study forecast there would be 7% year-over-year overall growth in global digital commerce for November and December, slowing down from 50% year-over-year growth in 2020, and 10% growth in the U.S. (slowing down from 43% year-over-year growth in 2020).

More consumers plan to buy holiday gifts in 2021 than in the previous year, with 74% planning to purchase gifts this year compared to 69% in 2020. As consumers face rising prices, 70% plan to spend the same or slightly less on gifts for the holidays, compared to 2020.

While the majority of consumers (58%) plan to perform in-store holiday shopping this year, 56% also plan to buy products online and ship them to their home. In addition, 19% plan to buy products online and pick them up in-store or curbside. 

Salesforce also found that a large percentage of surveyed consumers are concerned about issues like pricing or shipping delays during the 2021 holiday season, with most stating that they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerning:

  • Rising prices (due to inflation) — 89%.
  • Product availability — 79%.
  • Shipping delays — 78%.
  • Health and safety of shopping indoors — 70%.

When making a purchase and deciding between brands, surveyed consumers cited the following factors as most important:

  • Product quality — 65%.
  • Discounts — 57%.
  • Availability — 39%.

“With inflation and supply chain issues top of mind for shoppers this year, we’re seeing an increased focus on early holiday shopping,” said Rob Garf, VP and GM of retail, Salesforce. “While many retailers have pulled back on discounting due to limited product availability, they’ll need to embrace a variety of tactics — from loyalty programs to order fulfillment options to a reconsidered stance on discounting — to win over these early shoppers.”

Every quarter, Salesforce Insights surveys the general population to discover how consumer opinions and behaviors are changing over time. For its third and newest survey, it polled 11,738 consumers across Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, and the U.S. between Oct. 19, 2021 – Nov. 1, 2021.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds