Holiday shoppers spent record-breaking $126 billion online in 2018

Adobe found mobile drove more than half of holiday visits to retailer sites and generated one-third of revenue.

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Holiday shoppers spent more money online than ever before in 2018, according to a 2018 holiday wrap-up out this week from Adobe Analytics. Consumers spent $126 billion from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, averaging $2.1 billion a day — an increase of 16.5 percent over last year.

Adobe’s report is based on more than 1 trillion visits to U.S.-based retail websites, combined with product and transaction analyses.

Mobile conversion rates still lower, but revenue increasing. Consumers used smartphones for more than half (51 percent) of online visits, but mobile was responsible for less than one-third (31 percent) of the revenue. Desktop accounted for 40 percent of visits and 60 percent of revenue; tablets made up the remaining 9 percent of visits and revenue.

Lower conversion rates and average order values on mobile are nothing new, but mobile revenue overall continued to rise, increasing 34 percent over last year’s holiday shopping season.

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Similarly, BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick-up In Store) baskets, on average, contained fewer and less expensive items than the average cart. However, BOPIS is catching on, and revenue jumped 50 percent from the previous year.

Cyber Weekend revenue up 20 percent. Many shoppers waited until the five-day Thanksgiving-Cyber Monday weekend to shop, spending an average of 40 percent more in the days after Cyber Monday than in the three weeks preceding it. But once the holiday weekend arrived, consumers opened their wallets wide, driving $24.2 billion in sales — a 23 percent increase over last year.

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday all broke records with Cyber Monday topping out with $7.9 billion, nearly 20 percent (19.3) more than last year. The most profitable daypart of Cyber Monday occurred during hours between 7 and 11 pm PST, with $2 billion spent in that four-hour window.

Why you should care. Even a record-breaking holiday season has room for improvement. Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, said that the disparity between mobile revenue and visits “reinforces the opportunity for retailers to improve mobile conversion rates and increase smartphone revenue.”

Retailers can learn from successes with newer mobile strategies and programs such as BOPIS, which require a seamless online-to-offline experience. BOPIS presents opportunities for retailers to up-sell customers in-store to increase average order values, for example.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Robin Kurzer
Robin Kurzer started her career as a daily newspaper reporter in Milford, Connecticut. She then made her mark on the advertising and marketing world in Chicago at agencies such as Tribal DDB and Razorfish, creating award-winning work for many major brands. For the past seven years, she’s worked as a freelance writer and communications professional across a variety of business sectors.

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