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Nick Schäferhoff

Editor in Chief

It’s never too early to start thinking about and planning for the holiday shopping season — especially if you want your e-commerce website traffic and sales to spike.

To ensure your site is ready for what’s to come in November and December of 2021, it’s a good idea to look back at the holiday e-commerce and marketing statistics of 2020. Not only will you find steady increases in e-commerce activity, but you’ll also notice some very telling trends. Like smartphones as research tools for holiday shopping as well as the growing shift to multichannel e-commerce.

That said, the 2021 holiday shopping season might not be as predictable as previous seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, included with this roundup of holiday e-commerce statistics.

In this guide, you’ll find the following:

General Holiday E-Commerce Statistics

1. An estimated $1.013 trillion was spent during the 2020 holiday season — that’s a 0.9% increase from last year’s holiday spend. (eMarketer)

2. 2019 was the first holiday season to pass the trillion-dollar mark in retail sales. Brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce spending totaled $1.007 trillion. (eMarketer)

3. Online spending in the U.S. increased by 33% with an estimated $189 billion spent in 2020. (Adobe)

4. Brick-and-mortar retail holiday revenue declined 4.7% due to the COVID-19 pandemic — to an estimated $822.79 billion in 2020. (eMarketer)

5. More than half (51%) of holiday shoppers felt anxious about shopping in-store in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Deloitte)

6. Thanksgiving 2020 posted $5.1 billion in sales in the U.S. alone. That’s a 21.5% increase from the previous year. (Adobe)

7. Black Friday 2020 sales totaled $9.03 billion in the U.S. — a record 21.6% increase from 2019. (Adobe)

8. Cyber Monday 2020 had the highest single-day sales in history, totaling $10.84 billion. That’s a 15.1% increase from last year. (Adobe)

9. The five-day Cyber Week (Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) brought in a total of $34.4 billion in the U.S. (Adobe)

10. 50% of holiday shoppers tried a new shopping service for the first time in 2020. (Google)

11. Online holiday spending increased further compared to in-store spend during the 2020 holiday season:

  • 64% (or $892) was spent online.
  • 28% (or $390) was spent in-store.

(Deloitte)

12. Both desktop and mobile holiday traffic increased significantly in 2020:

  • Desktop traffic increased by 40.5%.
  • Smartphone traffic increased by 31.0%.
  • Tablet traffic decreased by 16.2%.

Salesforce traffic growth for desktop, mobile, and tablet(Salesforce)

13. The average e-commerce order value was $144 during cyber week 2020 — that’s a 17% increase from the previous year. (BigCommerce)

14. Cyber Week conversion rate peaked on Cyber Monday:

  • Laptop and other devices had a conversion rate of 7.2%.
  • Smartphones had a conversion rate of 3.31%.

(Adobe)

Holiday Shopper Spending Trends

15. In 2020, 70% of people plan to spend the same or more on gifts during the holiday season. (MarTechSeries)

16. 78.1% of consumers planned to shop primarily with Amazon for their holiday gifts. (Statista)

17. On average, consumers distributed their holiday spend between the following:

  • $465 on experiences
  • $487 on gifts
  • $435 on non-gifts

(Deloitte)

18. The average family spend over the 2020 holiday season was $1,387. (Deloitte)

19. 60% of all holiday sales came from big spenders (those who spent over $2100). (Deloitte)

20. Early bird shoppers spend more on average. Consumers who do holiday shopping before Thanksgiving spend nearly $400 more than their later counterparts. (Deloitte)

21. 48% of holiday shoppers start buying Christmas gifts before December 1. (Statista)

22. The most popular categories to spend money on were:

Clothing and accessories 21%
Food and beverage, health and wellness 21%
Toys and hobbies 13%
Electronics and accessories 13%
Home and kitchen 8%

(Deloitte)

23. 38% of holiday shoppers spent less in 2020 — a level not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. (Deloitte)

24. The average 2020 holiday shopping duration is 5.9 weeks — a decrease compared to 2019’s 7.4 weeks.

25. 15% of people don’t start holiday shopping until December. (Statista)

26. Only 26% of shoppers complete their holiday shopping before Cyber Week. (Think with Google)

27. 33% of consumers will hold on buying holiday gifts until there’s a sale. (Think with Google)

28. The “Nintendo Switch” is the most searched for a product during Black Friday 2020. (SEMrush)

29. Walmart is the retailer with the most Black Friday related search in 2020. (SEMrush)

30. Brazil recorded the most growth in interest in Black Friday in 2020 — with 48% more people searching for Black Friday. (SEMrush)

31. 1 in 3 holiday shoppers are worse off financially compared to last year.  (Deloitte)

32. Holiday shoppers pay for gifts from a variety of sources:

Savings 52.25%
Credit card 42.62%
Borrowed money from friends or family 5.54%
Short-term payday loans 3.23%
Personal loans 3.17%

(Finder)

Holiday Shopping Statistics by Device

33. While shoppers use a variety of devices during the holiday season, e-commerce spending was split unevenly among them:

  • 61% desktop sales
  • 39% mobile sales

desktop vs mobile sales(Statista)

34. In November and December 2020, an estimated $71.3 billion came from mobile shoppers. (Statista)

35. An estimated $28 billion more was spent via smartphones during the 2020 holiday shopping period. (Adobe)

36. While mobile traffic continues to grow, the conversion is still higher on laptops and other devices. During Black Friday 2020:

  • Laptop and other devices converted at 6.82%.
  • Smartphones converted at 3.05%.

(Adobe)

37. Desktop and mobile continue to duke it out for e-commerce shoppers’ attention throughout the holiday season (November 1 – December 31):

Desktop Mobile
Traffic Share 37% 58%
Order Share 59% 36%
Conversion Rate 4.3% 1.8%

(Adobe)

38. The split between desktop and mobile shoppers is similar during Cyber Week. The key difference being the increase in conversion rates:

Desktop Mobile
Traffic Share 36% 59%
Order Share 57% 38%
Conversion Rate 6.2% 2.7%
Average # of Checkouts 5.9 3.0
Cart Abandonment Rate 33% 50%

(Adobe)

39. Despite more order completion on desktop, the holiday shopping process starts on smartphones two-thirds as frequently as they do on desktop (Adobe)

40. On Cyber Monday 2020, laptop and other devices had a conversion rate of 7.2% — the highest of any shopping day in 2020. (Adobe)

41. An estimated 10% of mobile orders come through social channels. (Salesforce)

Holiday E-commerce Marketing Statistics

42. For 75% of holiday shoppers, free shipping is an important factor in whether they buy online. (Adobe)

43. 21% of consumers use social media to help with their holiday shopping.

top research sources for holiday shopping

(Deloitte)

44.The use of social media for holiday shopping is most pronounced among younger shoppers:

  • 46% of Gen Z use social media for holiday shopping
  • 44% of millennials use social media for holiday shopping

(Deloitte)

45.  Review comments on retail websites or mobile apps influence the holiday shopping decision of 6% of holiday shoppers. (Deloitte)

46. Holiday shoppers use a variety of sources to research gift ideas and purchases:

Online Retailers 63%
Search Engines 54%
Retail Stores 47%
Retailer Websites or Mobile Apps 46%
Family/Friends/Colleagues 38%

(Deloitte)

47. In 2020, “buy online” searches spiked by 50% YoY due to the coronavirus pandemic. (SEMrush)

48. 64% of holiday shoppers use retail stores/websites/apps for holiday shopping research. (Deloitte)

49. In-store holiday shoppers rely on web search to improve their shopping trips with queries related to:

  • Prices
  • Locations
  • Directions
  • Available stock nearby

(Think with Google)

50. Mid-December sees a big uptick in “free shipping” searches as the shipping window for Christmas delivery diminishes. (Think with Google)

51. Last-minute shoppers and those that missed the delivery window are the reason why “store hours” mobile searches on Christmas Eve tend to spike. (Think with Google)

52. Mobile searches for “gift idea” or “gift ideas” increase after Black Friday, reaching their peak a week before Christmas. (Think with Google)

53. During the holiday season, 85% of shoppers prioritize free shipping over 15% who want fast shipping. (Deloitte)

54. Holiday shoppers that prefer fast shipping want purchases to arrive in 2 days or less. (Deloitte)

55. Holiday shoppers that prefer free shipping are willing to wait longer for deliveries, between 3 and 7 days. (Deloitte)

56. 81% of consumers expect to be swayed by holiday promotions. (Deloitte)

57. As far as promotional incentives go, consumers prefer the following:

Price discounts 74%
Free shipping 72%
BOGO  39%
Cashback 29%

(Deloitte)

58. 61% of consumers are willing to share their personal information in exchange for better promotional offers. 34% prefer faster customer service while 31% prefer faster checkout. (Deloitte)

59. Consumers want the following assistance when shopping on websites and apps:

Product recommendations 42%
Visual search tools 17%
Curated subscription products 7%
Voice assistants 6%
Chatbots 5%

(Deloitte)

60. 65% of shoppers are willing to buy from a new retailer over the holidays. (Deloitte)

61. Holiday shoppers say the following can sway them to buy from someone new:

Better prices 62%
Unique products 44%
Coupons or discounts 44%

(Deloitte)

62. In general, holiday shoppers are motivated by the following:

Product assortment 76%
Price 75%
Convenience 64%

(Deloitte)

63. Search is responsible for 46.5% of all purchases during the 2020 holiday season. (Adobe)

64. 46% of holiday shoppers do not follow influencers. (Deloitte)

65. An estimated 10% – 15% of 2020 holiday sales came from social media. (Salesforce)