Online holiday sales to hit new high, but expect ‘stockouts’ more often, Adobe says

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Adobe predicts online holiday sales in the United States will reach $ 208 billion, setting a new record and up 10% from 2020, when the pandemic made e-commerce an essential service for consumers.

It wasn’t until 2017 that online shopping first hit $ 100 billion between November and December.

The next step won’t be smooth for consumers and retailers alike due to supply chain issues and higher prices, according to Adobe’s holiday forecast released Wednesday.

Already, out-of-stock messages are up 172% from a year ago and are more than three times the level of 2019, said Vivek Pandya, senior analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, adding that he expects these levels to remain high.

Of the 18 merchandise categories Adobe tracks, clothing currently has the highest levels of out-of-stock, followed by sporting goods, baby products, and electronics.

And there will be smaller discounts on days when retailers have trained shoppers to expect the biggest price drops – from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber ​​Monday.

U.S. consumers will pay 9% more on average during these promotional days, and online prices are already up 3% from a year ago, Pandya said. “Some households will absorb the price increase, and others will rethink their spending.”

Buyers accustomed to historic average discounts of 10% to 30% this week will see more modest offers of 5% to 25%, he said.

“As e-commerce becomes more and more ubiquitous, the main shopping days are losing their importance,” Pandya said.

Cyber ​​Monday will once again be the biggest online ecommerce day of the season with sales of $ 11.3 billion, but it is expected to grow only 4% from a year ago, although below the gain of 15% last year and 17% in 2019.

Forecasts are similar for Black Friday and Thanksgiving, which had become a strong online day even before the pandemic, pulling sales ahead of the long Black Friday weekend as retailers tried to jump on spending by consumers. buyers.

Adobe’s Digital Economic Index forecast is based on more than 1,000 billion visits to US retail sites tracked by Adobe Analytics. Here are some other key findings:

  • Consumers choose to buy now and pay later to free up money during the holidays. More and more retailers are offering this option and buyers are using it for cheaper items than last year. Online revenue from “buy now pay later” transactions is up 10% this year and 45% more than in 2019.
  • Curbside pickup was used by 25% of all online orders last December, and Adobe expects it to resume the limelight, staying at that level in November and hitting a record 40% of orders in November. online in the days leading up to Christmas. The reason: Buyers will be concerned about online delivery delays.

Twitter: @MariaHalkias

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