Adobe Forecasts Online Holiday Spend Will See 2 Years of Growth in Single Season


While early projections indicated Black Friday and Cyber Monday could be less meaningful in a pandemic-era holiday season, Adobe Analytics is out with its annual forecast and disagrees vehemently.

In fact, Adobe predicts the dates will shatter previous records of $7.4 billion and $9.4 billion, respectively, both of which were set just one year ago.

Per Adobe, Black Friday 2020 will generate $10 billion in online sales, marking a 39% increase year over year, while Cyber Monday will hit $12.7 billion for a 35% bump year over year. The latter will take the crown from Cyber Monday 2019 as the biggest-ever day for ecommerce in the U.S.

The reason? In large part, habit.

“We’ve trained shoppers for so long to really index on these two days that they’re still expected to be the big days, and retailers are meeting their customers in these big events,” said Jason Woosley, vp of commerce product and platform at Adobe.

Even Thanksgiving, which saw online sales reach $4 billion last year, is expected to see a “huge boost” in 2020 thanks in part to smaller gatherings, which may give people more time to browse websites.

But the uptick is also thanks to overall growth in ecommerce throughout the pandemic.

“Ecommerce in general has been at sort of Black Friday levels since April, and now we’re seeing the spike on top of that,” Woosley said.

Indeed, Adobe projects online holiday spend in the U.S. will reach $189 billion throughout the season—which it classifies as Nov. 1 to Dec. 31—marking a 33% year-over-year increase and what the platform noted is the equivalent of two years of growth within a single season. Woosley called that $189 billion figure a “monster number” and “the biggest headline of this year.”

What’s more, if consumers receive new stimulus checks and more stores have to close, Adobe predicts customers will spend an additional $11 billion online for a whopping $200 billion holiday season overall. That would be 47% growth year over year.

In so doing, Adobe says online sales will surpass $2 billion each day between Nov. 1 and Nov. 21—which will then increase to $3 billion a day from Nov. 22 to Dec. 3.

“The $2 billion sales days is a really big deal,” Woosley said. “Last year, I remember talking about crossing a $2 billion mark for the first time outside of Black Friday [and] Cyber Monday, and now we’re talking about a very long string of these $2 billion days. So just an incredible amount of growth.”

He called this “proof that we are now in a new higher velocity [market with a] … larger volume [of] ecommerce spend.”

Further proof more consumers are shopping online: Adobe anticipates 9% of holiday shoppers will be net new to ecommerce as a result of the pandemic.

“That’s a number you almost never expect to see in a market as mature as ecommerce,” he added.

Of the overall spend, 42% will be transactions completed on smartphones, which Adobe noted marks an increase of $28.1 billion over 2019.

“The smartphone usage was a place where we thought we might see some softness as people had more access to their desktop and laptop devices … but smartphone use has actually soared,” Woosley said.

That, he added, is because mobile payment options including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Amazon Pay “have made it very, very frictionless for consumers to complete that purchase on their phone.”

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