Consumers spent $72.2 billion between Nov. 1 and Nov. 23 this year, resulting in 19.8% growth year-over-year. Adobe touted the figure as evidence that shoppers have returned in force and hit the sales early, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday yet to come into play.
Adobe projects that spending could top $200 billion, which would mark a 10% increase compared to the same period last year as well as a new record for spending in the holiday season.
"We’re on our way to a massive, record-breaking $207 billion holiday shopping season, and Thanksgiving weekend will continue to play a major role, especially online, as many physical stores have decided to close on Thursday," said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights. "As consumers are navigating a ‘one-two punch’ of inflation and supply chain concerns, they’ve already spent almost 20% more year-over-year."
The push for early shopping may have resulted from supply chain issues, which have limited the availability of all goods and raised fears of a lean holiday season as prices also rise in response.
"[Consumers] will also compromise on buying gifts that weren’t necessarily first on their lists as popular items like electronics continue to be out of stock," Schreiner added.
Out-of-stock messages have risen 8% compared to the same time last week, 227% compared to Jan. 2020 and 261% compared to Nov. 2019.
Recreational goods, such as hoverboards, Nerf toys, Oculus, AirPods, and Macbooks buoyed the substantial figure. Adobe also note the significant increase in "buy now, pay later" spending, which generated a 466% increase in orders.
Cyber Monday, the high point of online spending for the season, could generate around $11.3 billion this year – another new record. That figure should occur despite a decrease in sales and discount offers: Prices rose 1.9% in October compared to the same month in 2020.
The most surprising factor in the rise in digital shopping comes from smartphones, which accounted for 41.3% of all online sales during the period, but a 59.4% share of smartphone visits implies that shoppers still prefer to shop from a desktop device.
Analysts have not yet determined the impact of continued closures – either temporary or permanent – on physical sales due to the pandemic and continued restrictions in some areas.