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Study: Thanksgiving weekend looks promising for online retailers

Online holiday sales are off to a positive early start.

A new study indicates the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday will see solid e-commerce growth.

E-commerce transactions will rise 23% year-over-year between Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 29), according to data from real-time digital payment software provider ACI Commerce, Broken down by individual day, this growth includes:

  • Thanksgiving Day +20%.
  • Black Friday +22%.
  • Saturday after Black Friday +26%.
  • Sunday prior to Cyber Monday +27%.
  • Cyber Monday +21%.

ACI analysis indicates global e-commerce transactions for the whole holiday season (October – December 2021) are expected to rise 14%. In September 2021, global e-commerce transactions increased 6% compared to the same month in 2020, which ACI says indicates shoppers started planning for the holiday season earlier than in previous years.

Recent Salesforce digital commerce sales data also indicates consumers are kicking off holiday shopping early, with positive results for online retailers. According to Salesforce, digital commerce revenue is so far 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. 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%).

ACI also predicted year-over-year online sales increases for other key dates in the holiday season, including:

  • Green Monday (second Monday in December) +15%.
  • Christmas Eve +14%.
  • Christmas Day +15%.
  • Boxing Day (day after Christmas) +12%.
  • New Year’s Eve +10%.

ACI analysis also shows that new payment methods and channels continue to grow, with a projected 98% increase in e-commerce transactions through the buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) delivery channel during the 2021 holiday season compared to the 2020 holiday season.

The buy now, pay later (BNPL) channel has also grown significantly, according to ACI. In the first half of 2021, it more than quadrupled (450%) compared to the same period the previous year. BNPL also has the highest acceptance rates (98% on average compared to 96% on credit/debit cards), which ACI says indicates a continued upward trajectory.

The study also examined several expected holiday growth trends in several specific areas of mobile and e-wallet payments:

Volume of transactions

  • Mobile payments: Predicted to increase by 18%.
  • E-wallets: predicted to increase by 87%.

Average ticket value

  • Mobile payments: Predicted to increase by 17%.
  • E-wallets: Predicted to increase by 12%.

Fraud attempts

  • Mobile payments: Predicted to increase by 0.3%.
  • E-wallets: Predicted to increase by 0.7%.

Fraud attempted transaction value rate

  • Mobile payments: Predicted to increase by 0.3%.
  • E-wallets: Predicted to increase by 0.3%.

“The holiday shopping season started in September this year with consumers looking for gifts and bargains early,” said Debbie Guerra, head of merchant payments, ACI Worldwide. “Merchants offered deals and discounts much earlier than in previous years to promote early shopping, giving them greater flexibility to accommodate any supply chain challenges. Retailers continue to grapple with shortages in labor and delivery delays due to the ongoing pandemic.”

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