Global Digital Sales Surpassed $1 Trillion During 2021 Holiday Season
Salesforce released its 2021 Holiday Shopping Report, which analyzes shopping data from over one billion shoppers on the Salesforce Customer 360 platform. While Cyber Week saw muted digital growth in 2021, early November and late December surges helped retailers break new sales records. Consumers spent $1.14 trillion online globally and $257 billion in the U.S., compared to $1.1 trillion and $236 billion in 2020.
The data shows that shoppers were eager to secure their gifts ahead of the retail rush to avoid issues with shipping delays and out-of-stock products, with 30% of global holiday sales completed by November 22. Cyber Week accounted for 23% of global sales (down from 24% in 2020). As consumers missed online shipping cut-off dates and concerns grew around new COVID-19 variants, 23% of global digital sales were placed between December 18 and December 31. Stores that offered curbside or in-store pickup options over the same period captured 62% of these final global sales.
With high holiday prices and discounts in the U.S. down 10% year-over-year (YoY), overall use of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services in the U.S. during the holiday season increased 40% compared to 2020. Consumers turned to these offerings throughout the holiday season to offset the higher price tags. Alternative payment forms, including PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, also increased by 15% YoY in the U.S. As consumers shifted their spending from needs to wants this holiday season, luxury handbags had the highest global growth with an increase of 45% in online sales. Home furniture and general footwear trailed closely behind at +34% and +32% growth respectively.
A survey of 1,600 global shoppers from Salesforce’s 4th edition of the Connected Shoppers Report found that by 2023, 25% of shopping is projected to happen beyond a retailer or brand’s website, app, or physical store. Over the 2021 holiday season, 4% of global digital sales on a mobile device were made through a social media app and 10% of mobile traffic originated from consumers browsing through social networks. As retailers begin to build in the metaverse, it’s clear that shoppers are ready to purchase across new channels. While consumers continued to embrace digital this holiday, physical stores proved to be key throughout the shopping season. 60% of global digital sales were influenced by brick-and-mortar – from generating to fulfilling demand.