Adobe: 2021 Holiday Season Saw Record Spending Online
The 2021 holiday season saw record online sales in the U.S., with consumers spending $204.5 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, an 8.6 percent increase over the same period the year prior, according to the latest numbers from Adobe. Those sales include a record 38 days when customers spent more than $3 billion.
Discounts were less common during this past holiday season than in 2020 across major retail categories such as electronics, computers, appliances, sporting goods and furniture.
In that same time period, Adobe reports there were over 6 billion out-of-stock messages online, a 253 percent increase over the 2019 holiday season, and a 10 percent increase over 2020.
"“Like we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has become a ubiquitous daily activity and a flexible way for shoppers to navigate product availability and higher prices," Taylor Schreiner, senior director of Adobe Digital Insights, said in a press release Wednesday.
Adobe's analysis covers over 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites and 18 product categories during the holiday season.
With more consumers going online to make their holiday purchases, retailers hired fewer employees during the 2021 holiday season. Holiday hiring in retail dropped 7 percent from October through December, according to a new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The analysis, performed by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, counted 684,000 seasonal retail jobs during the holiday season, a decrease from 736,300 in 2020.
Total Retail's Take: Almost two years into the pandemic, it's no surprise that customers are spending more online, especially as the Omicron variant hit the U.S. and canceled family visits and shopping trips during the holiday season. While supply chain issues were expected to be the real Grinch of the holiday season — and they were a challenge, evidenced by the billions of product out-of-stocks — retailers and customers planned accordingly, and the shopping season was unofficially extended to account for the delays.
As Adobe's analysis shows, big shopping days weren't limited to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. In fact, the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving saw a 19.2 percent sales growth over last year, while Cyber Week sales were down 1.4 percent.