Surges in early November and late December helped retailers set new sales records during the 2021 holiday season, according to Salesforce’s new 2021 Holiday Shopping Report. The study, which analyzes purchase data from more than 1 billion buyers on the Salesforce Customer 360 platform and activity in commerce, marketing and services, showed that consumers spent 1 $14 trillion online globally and $257 billion in the US, up from $1.1 trillion and $236 billion in 2020.
While Cyber Week saw moderate 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 United States, up from $1.1 trillion and $236 billion in 2020.
Top Salesforce 2021 Holiday Shopping Insights
Salesforce data highlights trends that shaped the holiday season, including:
- Shoppers splurged early and late this holiday season: Shoppers were eager to secure their gifts ahead of the retail rush to avoid issues of shipping delays and out-of-stock products, with 30% of global holiday sales made as of November 22. Cyber Week accounted for 23% of global sales (compared to 24% in 2020). As consumers missed shipping deadlines online and concerns grew around new variants of Covid-19, 23% of global digital sales were made between December 18 and 31. Stores that offered curbside or in-store pickup options during the same period captured 62% of these final global sales.
- Digital-first consumers have embraced flexible payment methods: With high US holiday prices and discounts down 10% year over year (YoY), overall usage of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services in the US during the holiday season increased by 40% compared to 2020. Consumers turned to these offers throughout the holiday season to offset the higher prices. Alternative payment methods, including PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay, also grew 15% year-over-year in the US
- Luxury handbags and home furnishings are the fastest growing online categories: As consumers shifted their spending from needs to wants this holiday season, luxury handbags saw the strongest global year-over-year growth with a 45% increase in online sales. Household furniture and footwear in general follow closely with growth of +34% and +32% respectively.
- Social commerce continues to influence consumer buying behavior: A survey of 1,600 global buyers of the 4th edition of Salesforce du Connected Buyers Report found that by 2023, 25% of purchases are expected to take place beyond a retailer or brand’s website, app or physical store. During 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 came from consumers browsing social media. As retailers begin to integrate the metaverse, it’s clear that shoppers are ready to buy on new channels.
- Shops played an essential role during this holiday: As consumers continued to embrace digital during the holidays, physical stores proved essential throughout the shopping season. In fact, 60% of global digital sales were influenced by brick and mortar, from generation to demand fulfillment. The changing role of the store – and associates – has helped eliminate friction between digital and physical touchpoints.
“Despite the lingering pandemic and myriad hurdles such as supply chain logistics, low inventory and fewer discounts, consumers flocked online to end this holiday shopping season in style,” says Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail, Salesforce. “As we enter a new year, retailers must push their brands to platforms such as social media, games, messaging and the metaverse to engage shoppers where they discover and purchase products. They must also redouble efforts to reinvent physical stores to support ever-changing digital experiences.
Salesforce Powered the 2021 Holiday Season
As consumers have both gone digital this year and returned to the store, Salesforce has helped brands and retailers around the world serve their customers no matter where they shop. Between November 1 and December 31, 2021, Salesforce customers:
- Commerce Cloud: Over 283 million online orders on Commerce Cloud, while delivering personalized digital experiences to shoppers. Digital sales powered by Commerce Cloud grew 21% year-over-year during the holiday season.
- Marketing Cloud: Global marketing communications conducted through Marketing Cloud increased globally with 39 billion push notifications (+440% YoY), 6.5 billion text messages (+76% YoY) and 223 billion emails emails sent (+73% YoY), as marketers. committed consistently throughout the season.
- Einstein: Artificial intelligence played a big role in driving revenue with 19% of all orders including a product that was recommended to the buyer.
- Service Cloud: Agents viewed or worked on cases more than 26 billion times (a 79% year-over-year increase) and received more than 1.19 billion customer service calls (a 26% year-on-year increase). year-on-year) during the holiday season.
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