Consumers spent $211.7 billion online in November and December 2022, representing a new ecommerce record and 3.5% growth YoY. This despite concerns about inflation, possible recession and supply chain issues.
Demand for toys and video games soared conspicuously compared to pre-season levels, while other categories that performed well included wristwatches, cosmetics, gift cards and — perhaps looking ahead to the spring — outdoor grills.
A strong Cyber Week. The five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, known as Cyber Week, made a major contribution to this growth. It saw $35.3 billion in online spending, a YoY improvement of 4%.
But consumers also spread spending across the holiday period. Thirty-eight days saw online spending surpass $3 billion, compared with 25 days in 2020.
The data comes from Adobe Analytics, providing insights into more than one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs, and 18 product categories.
Discounts still work. Across a number of key categories, discounts were breaking records too. In toys, discounts hit 34%, almost double the 2021 high. Discounts were also significant across electronics, computers and apparel.
While prices remained higher in gas, rent and food, ecommerce discounts sustained “discretionary spending,” according to Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights. “The big deals drew in consumers and drove volume.”
Why we care. Was there ever a time that the run-up to the holiday period didn’t feature months of trepidation? Will consumers have enough money left over from non-discretionary expenses to go shopping online? Will another disaster — a health crisis, a war, oil prices impacting distribution — wreck consumer confidence?
Looking back, the holiday marketing campaigns combined with smart discount strategies all seem to have been worth it again. Certainly there must be many consumers forced to reduce holiday spending to meet rent and heating bills. But there’s prosperity out there too.
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