In 2021, holiday e-commerce expenditure surpassed previous highs
In 2021, holiday e-commerce expenditure surpassed previous highs
According to Adobe data, Americans spent $204.5 billion on e-commerce purchases during the Thanksgiving season. This was an increase of 8.6% year over year in online expenditure.

The data shows that e-commerce shoppers spread their purchases out more in November and December. For example, expenditure increased by 19.2% YoY in the weeks leading up to November 24, while spending decreased by 1.4 percent in the time between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday (dubbed "Cyber Week"). Sales increased by 5.6 percent year over year in the weeks following November 30.


Supply chain challenges haven't stopped us. Despite spending at historic levels, shoppers faced challenges due to supply chain disruptions.


According to the Adobe analysis, online customers viewed over 6 billion out-of-stock alerts over the 2021 holiday season. This was 253 percent more than the year before the outbreak. It was also 10% higher than the previous year.


There will be less discounting. Despite seeing fewer deals, online customers were willing to buy. For example, in the electronics category, discounts were only 8% off full price, compared to an average of 21% off in 2020. In 2021, computers will be discounted by 10%, compared to 22% in 2020.


In 2021, there were slightly higher discounts on clothes and toys.


BNPL expanded significantly. In the most recent holiday season, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) showed double-digit increase.


Revenue from BNPL purchases increased by 27% year over year, while orders increased by 10%. With around three things in their cart, customers spent an average of $224 per order.


Why should we be concerned? Before the pandemic, e-commerce was a big disruptor in the retail business. Many brands and consumers found it to be a lifesaver. This shift has an impact on how all marketers approach digital channels and time.


Customers are in holiday mode by the beginning of November, so marketers must plant their flag early. This overall flattening of seasonality isn't going away anytime soon. New digital retail tactics such as BNPL and curbside pickup will help firms in all categories acquire a competitive advantage.


Online, the holiday season begins sooner, but digital platforms also assist marketers right up until the last minute. According to Adobe's data, curbside pickup remained flat in 2021 compared to the previous two years, staying around 22 percent -24 percent of online orders. However, it represents about a quarter of all sales, with the percentage peaking at 40% on Christmas Eve.