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Online seasonal sales look buoyant

News, 02 November 2015

GLOBAL: American online shoppers are forecast to spend $83bn this holiday season, a rise of 11% on last year, according to a new global report that also predicts strong growth in the UK and China.

With the release of its 2015 Digital Index Online Shopping Prediction, Adobe forecast that US internet users will spend a total of $305 online in November and December.

It predicts that online sales for Thanksgiving ($1.6bn), Black Friday ($2.7bn) and Cyber Monday ($3bn) will grow substantially with Thanksgiving Day growing the fastest at 18%.

Mobile will overtake desktop on Thanksgiving Day, the report said, with mobile driving the majority (51%) of online traffic for the first time and accounting for 29% of all online sales that day.

Another key finding is that about three-quarters (76%) of all online shopping in the US is expected to be spent on just 1% of products. More than half (60%) of these goods will be electronics, followed by gift cards (10%).

Driven by social media buzz, other seasonal products that are likely to be snapped up include the BB-8 droid from Star Wars, Barbie and American Girl dolls, Apple Watch, Fitbit, iPad and Sony's PlayStation 4.

Looking at how consumers can secure the best deals, Adobe said most discounts would be found through display advertising followed by social networks, with search engines being least likely to result in a discount of more than 10%.

In an analysis based on more than 1 trillion visits to 4,500 retail websites, Adobe also paid attention to a number of other countries.

The company polled 400 British consumers and predicted they will spend $27bn (about £17.7bn) online, up 7% since 2014, with the average internet user spending $462.

Elsewhere, two-thirds (67%) of UK consumers rank lower prices and good deals as their top two reasons to shop online and, importantly, the proportion drawn to free shipping has jumped from 34% last year to 42% this year.

In addition, nearly half (45%) say product reviews are among the top two influencers when considering a major purchase and 43% use social media to find out which products are "the best," compared to just 25% last year.

Spending growth is expected to be more modest in the major European economies of Germany (+1% to $24bn) and France (+5% to $15bn), but will grow as much as 9% in Finland, albeit to just $2bn.

Meanwhile, China's massive and fast-growth economy means it is expected to report the largest amount of online shopping during the holiday season. Total ecommerce in the country over the period is expected to grow 13% year-on-year to $150bn.

Data sourced from Adobe; additional content by Warc staff