6 Holiday Shopping Takeaways from Thanksgiving Weekend - Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

6 Holiday Shopping Takeaways from Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving weekend: it’s widely considered the official kick-off of the holiday season. And for many, it’s considered a barometer for how the retail industry will perform over this critical time.  
 
Between ever-changing customer sentiment, frustration over inflation and ever-present supply chain issues, a myriad of disruptions has reframed holiday shopping behaviors. Some consumers started shopping earlier and many have focused more on price-comparison and deal-hunting behaviors. But how did these and other factors impact the way Thanksgiving weekend (from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday) shook out?

Here’s what we know so far about holiday shopping results, courtesy of some of our favorite sources:  
 
The deals have been poppin’: Many of our retail friends know just based on their own business strategies, but if you look at your own inboxes or search your own favorite brands, you know that there are a lot of deals to choose from. (Need proof? Just check out a site like RetailMeNot and you’ll see plenty of deals.)  
 
Electronics and accessories see holiday surge: To that end, many brands and retailers across verticals focused on providing economic value over the weekend. However, the verticals with the highest discount rates over the weekend, according to Salesforce, were home appliances (42%), general apparel (33%), luxury handbags (32%), and health and beauty (31%). When we compare this to the most popular verticals over the weekend, there’s an interesting juxtaposition: electronics and accessories (up 31%), active apparel and footwear (up 20%), and health and beauty (up 14%) point to new leading trends for the season. (Want to get more data and insights from Salesforce? Their holiday hub is chock-full of awesome info.)  
 
In-store shopping is in full swing: In-store shopping never really went fully away, in our opinion, but many consumers reverted to their old Black Friday shopping behaviors, according to data from RetailMeNot. In fact, 83% of consumers said they planned to shop in-store on Black Friday to hunt for deals and 30% expected to shop store-exclusive deals and doorbusters that either were not available online or were sold out online.  
 
Mobile was consumers’ top shopping tools: Salesforce data found that online shopping was done largely via consumers’ mobile devices: 78% of U.S. and 79% of global ecommerce shopping traffic coming from smartphones. When we consider how closely intertwined mobile is with social media, and the fact that social accounted for 12% of all mobile traffic referrals (a 22% increase from 2021) this increase definitely makes sense. 
 
Consumers expand their usage of alternative payment options: In light of economic uncertainty, many experts have been keeping a close eye on payment usage. BNPL in particular has been thrust into the spotlight as younger consumers gravitate to apps like Klarna and Afterpay to make all kinds of purchases — not just big-ticket ones. Over the weekend, Salesforce found that although the number of orders with BNPL applied was up 6% in the U.S., the average order value for these purchases decreased by 9%.  
 
Ecommerce momentum continued through the weekend: Figures from Adobe Analytics show record spending through Thanksgiving weekend. Season-to-date (Nov. 1 to Nov. 27), consumers spent a total of $96.42 billion online, up 2.1% year over year. On Black Friday, online sales reached a record $9.12 billion, a 2.3% increase over last year. This momentum continued through the weekend, with ecommerce sales increasing by a staggering 6.1% year over year. Between Saturday and Sunday, a total of $9.55 billion was spent online. Adobe revealed early this morning that consumers spent $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday, making it the biggest online shopping day of the year (and of all time). The top sellers, unsurprisingly, were toys, electronics and computers. However, sporting goods, appliances, books and jewelry also increased significantly. (You can go here for more details.) 

So, what does this all mean? While on the surface these increases paint a promising picture, we’ve learned to look more closely at the data and how price changes may be impacting things. For example, total dollar spent may be rising, but basket sizes (and average order value) could be shrinking. We believe consumers will continue to research and weigh their best options, using a combination of deal platforms, social media and marketplaces. Social media will be a source of inspiration, largely driven by targeted ads and offers promoting hot deals.  

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