Salesforce: Global online holiday sales will reach $1.19 trillion

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Holiday e-commerce will surpass $1 trillion globally.

Online holiday sales should grow about 4% year-over-year, according to a new forecast from Salesforce.

Salesforce data indicates 2023 online holiday sales (Nov. 1 – Dec. 31) will total $1.19 trillion, compared to $1.14 trillion Salesforce tracked during the 2022 holiday season. That figure represented 5% growth from 2021.

Analysis of data from the Salesforce Shopping Index (which collects data from more than 1.5 billion consumers on retail sites using Salesforce’s Customer 360, including 24 of the top 30 U.S. online retailers), indicates 4% global and 1% U.S. year-over-year online sales growth across November and December 2023, reaching $1.19 trillion and $273 billion respectively.

According to Salesforce, 60% of these sales – or $714 billion globally – will be influenced by frontline workers in the store by a combination of creating demand and fulfilling online orders at retail locations. In addition, personalized customer service, marketing promotions, and shopping supported by AI are expected to drive $194 billion in global online holiday spend.

Other findings

  • Salesforce expects a flurry of promotional events in early October – leveraging the halo effect of Amazon’s fall Prime Day – followed by aggressive discounts throughout Cyber Week.
  • Salesforce anticipates global discount rates to rise to 19% in October and peak at 29% during Cyber Week. Despite early discounts, consumers will likely hold off for the best and final deals toward the end of the season.
  • One-quarter of all holiday digital sales will take place during the Cyber Week seven-day period.
  • Based on previous years’ data, Salesforce predicts that retailers with return windows of 30 days or less will see 7% fewer online sales in October and November. And poor return experiences which aren’t clear, easy and reasonable will put 21% of online orders at risk this holiday season.

“After a few years of accelerated ecommerce adoption throughout the pandemic, retailers are under pressure to drive sustainable growth and customer loyalty – while maintaining margins,” said Rob Garf, VP & GM, retail., Salesforce. “Despite a slowdown in online spending, brands that activate customer data and insights to execute effective promotions, relevant engagements powered by AI, and seamless experiences across channels will keep shoppers coming back over the holidays.”

Utilizing Commerce Cloud, Salesforce analyzed aggregated data to produce holiday insights from the activity of more than 1.5 billion global shoppers across more than 64 countries, with a focus on 12 key markets: the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, the Netherlands, Australia/New Zealand, the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan, Australia, and New Zealand), and the Nordics.