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January 13, 2022
Salesforce: Holiday Retail Gains as Purchasing Diversifies
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According to the Salesforce 2021 Holiday Shopping Report, consumers spent $1.14 trillion online globally and $257 billion in the United States in 2021, compared to $1.1 trillion and $236 billion respectively in 2020, according to Salesforce.

In its report, Salesforce analyzed shopping data from more than one billion shoppers on its Customer 360 platform and activity across commerce, marketing and services businesses including 24 of the top 30 U.S. online retailers. While Cyber Week saw muted digital growth in 2021, early November and late December 2021 surges helped retailers break new sales records, the customer relationship management firm stated.

Consumers shopped early in 2021 to beat the retail rush, avoid issues with shipping delays and get ahead of supply chain generated out-of-stocks, with 30% of global holiday sales completed by November 22. Cyber Week accounted for 23% of global sales, coming in just short of the 24% in 2020. Late season, 23% of global digital sales occurred between December 18 and December 31. Stores offering curbside or in-store pickup options over the same time period captured 62% of final global sales.

With high holiday prices and smaller discounts in the U.S., overall use of buy now, pay later services in the U.S. increased 40% year over year. Consumers turned to BNPL services throughout the holiday season to offset the higher price tags. Alternative payment forms, including PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, also gained, advancing 15% year over year in the U.S.

Home furniture, up 34%, trailed luxury handbags as the fastest-growing produce category online, Salesforce pointed out. Social commerce gained, too. A survey of 1,600 global shoppers, a part of Salesforce’s 4th edition of the Connected Shoppers Report, indicated that by 2023, 25% of shopping will happen beyond a retailer or brand’s website, app or physical store. Over the 2021 holiday season, consumers generated 4% of global mobile device digital sales through a social media app, and 10% of mobile traffic originated from consumers browsing through social networks. 

Yet, as consumers continued to embrace digital this holiday, brick-and-mortar operations influenced 60% of global digital sales in ways ranging from initiating interest in products to fulfilling purchases. The evolving role of the store – and employees – helped to break down friction across digital and physical touchpoints, Salesforce noted.

“Despite the lingering pandemic and countless obstacles such as supply chain logistics, low inventory and fewer discounts, consumers flocked online to close out this holiday shopping season with a bang,” said Rob Garf, salesforce vp and general manager, in announcing the research. “As we move into a new year, retailers must push their brands to platforms such as social, gaming, messaging and the metaverse to engage shoppers where they are discovering and buying products. They must also double down on efforts to reimagine physical stores to support continually changing digital experiences.”

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