January 24, 2019
By Dennis Kaiser
The top highlights and trends from the just wrapped up holiday season reveal a number of shopping shifts and emerging retail models. Salesforce’s 2018 Holiday Shopping Report revealed a number of tendencies, data and insights brands and retailers can draw from for future holiday shopping seasons.
Retail’s digital transformation was driven by mobile commerce, which eclipsed desktop for the first time, as 48% of orders were placed from mobile devices, compared to 44% from computers. Further reflecting the tech shift, 16% Cyber Week buyers engaged with AI-powered product recommendations and spent 14% more than those that did not. And, the growing influence of Social media was in full effect. It was the breakout channel of 2018, with a 34% increase in social traffic and Facebook/Instagram accounting for 94% of all social traffic to retail sites.
“Retailers saw strong digital growth this holiday season,” said Rob Garf, VP, Industry Strategy for Retail, Salesforce. “Rather than the retail apocalypse that many have proclaimed, we saw signs of a massive digital transformation. Enhancements in artificial intelligence, mobile, and social triggered a fundamental shift in the way shoppers will browse and buy into the future.”
Among the key highlights of Salesforce’s report were:
Retailers saw strong digital growth this holiday season with Salesforce Commerce Cloud customers accounting for a record amount of orders for the November 20 through December 26 reporting period. Digital orders grew 18%, driving a 12% increase in digital revenue year-over-year. Between November 20 and December 3, 25% of shoppers displayed a buying signal, such as completing a purchase, adding a product to cart, starting a checkout, or using site search – the highest rate ever recorded – indicating early it would be a strong holiday season. Fifty percent of holiday shopping was completed by Monday, December 3. By December 15, 80% of shopping was complete, just in time for the USPS Christmas shipping deadline on December 14.
Mobile orders were up 19% percent over 2017, with 66% of traffic coming from mobile devices, an increase of 11% over 2017. A resounding 74% of shoppers browsed from mobile phones on Christmas Day.
Artificial intelligence boosted holiday shopping revenues too, with 16% of Cyber Week buyers engaged with AI-powered product recommendations. AI-driven product recommendations saw peak engagement on Cyber Monday, with 18% of buyers engaging and averaged 15% for the season.
Digital wallets helped drive a significant increase in seamless checkouts. Twenty-eight percent of mobile shoppers used wallets like Apple Pay or PayPal, and 29% of mobile orders came from mobile wallets on peak days including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With reduced friction between discovery and purchase, shoppers using mobile wallets checked out 90 seconds faster than those that did not.
Social traffic grew 34% year-over-year for the entire holiday season, with Facebook and Instagram accounting for 93% of social-referred visits. Nike, Amazon and the iPhone were the most talked about companies and products on social media this holiday season.
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