Salesforce Forecasts Record $136 Billion in US Online Sales and $768 Billion Globally Despite Shortened Holiday Season

Mobile to Dominate Digital Holiday Sales, Accounting for 70 Percent of Ecommerce Traffic and 52 Percent of Orders Placed

Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, released its new consumer insights and predictions for the 2019 holiday shopping season.

“With six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, retailers will feel the pressure to create and fulfill demand before and after Cyber Week,” said Rob Garf, VP of Strategy and Insights for Retail and Consumer Goods, Salesforce. “That said, our data indicates a very strong digital season is ahead. Retailers that provide more personalized experiences, click and collect offerings, and of course, unbeatable prices, will be the ones that succeed this holiday season.”

Despite a shorter selling season, Salesforce forecasts sustained and solid U.S. digital commerce revenue growth this holiday season at 13 percent year over year (YOY), with total sales reaching a record $136 billion in the United States and $768 billion globally. Salesforce’s top predictions for the 2019 holiday shopping season include:

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A Shortened Season Will Push Retailers to Create Early Moments

With Thanksgiving falling later in the year, shoppers have six fewer days between Cyber Week (Nov. 25-Dec. 2) and Christmas to make their holiday purchases. This will result in revenue being more evenly distributed throughout Cyber Week. In fact, an increase in early bird shopping on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving will drive 19 percent YOY growth in global digital revenue. For Black Friday, digital revenue is forecast at $7.3 billion in the U.S. and $39.6 billion globally. Cyber Monday will bring in an addition $8.2 billion in the U.S and $32.2 globally.

These early shoppers will explore new channels – such as voice-enabled devices, messaging platforms and social media – to gain inspiration and make purchases. Social will be a strong channel for early Cyber Week mobile buyers, with 10 percent of mobile purchases referred directly from social channels on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This day represents the highest rate of mobile purchases referred from social channels all season, even higher than for peak shopping days like Black Friday.

Click and Collect Will Give the Short Season Longer Legs

As shoppers race to finish their orders before the Christmas shipping deadline of December 14, retailers will look to drive revenue growth in the shorter season with click and collect, also known as “buy online, pick up in-store.” With 83 percent of shoppers planning to shop in a physical store this holiday season, the convenience of click and collect extends the digital purchasing and shopping window well beyond the shipping deadline.

Retailers offering click and collect will drive 28 percent more revenue share across their industry during the 5 days before Christmas. This is in large part due to the fact that shoppers are 48 percent more active on sites that offer click and collect during this timeframe. An active shopper is defined as those who create baskets, start checkouts, engage in site search and other similarly desired shopping activities.

Gen Z Lives on the Edge this Holiday Season, Pushes Social Buying to Double Digits

Today, nearly one in ten digital purchases occur on emerging digital purchase points like social media, messaging platforms and voice-enabled devices. These channels are at the “edge” of brand and retailer properties.1 In fact, the preference for shopping at the edge is even more pronounced with Gen Zers, who are 3.5 times more likely than Baby Boomers to use these emerging purchase points.2

As Gen Z gains more purchasing power and influence than older generations, their preferences will bolster shopping on the edge. For the first time ever, social buying is expected to creep into the double digits this season. In fact, 37 percent of Gen Zers say Instagram will be their preferred source for holiday shopping inspiration. A rise in purchases on other alternative channels, like gaming platforms, is expected as well, with one in four millennials and Gen Zers expressing an interest in using gaming consoles to shop.

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Cyber Monday Remains the Best Day for Digital Discounts

Despite plateauing free shipping rates, discounts on merchandise will continue to rise, and for good reason. In fact, 47 percent of shoppers go so far as saying they will only buy items on sale this holiday season.4 Shoppers also say sales or promo codes are the number one factor influencing their holiday purchases, with two-thirds paying more attention to companies’ emails during the holidays as they keep an eye out for attractive deals.5

This season, retailers will reward discount-hunting shoppers with even greater digital discounts on merchandise before Cyber Week begins – with discount rates growing 9 percent the week before Cyber Week. Cyber Monday will remain the best day of the year for scoring the biggest digital discounts, with an average discount rate of 29 percent.

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