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Online Holiday Sales Broke Records and Grew 3.5%, According to Adobe

Online holiday sales were up 3.5% year over year during the period between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, according to new data released by Adobe Analytics this morning.

Shoppers spent a total of $211.7 billion online during the holiday shopping period, which set a new record for e-commerce sales during the holidays. While Cyber Week, or the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, was a major sales driver for the season, 38 days surpassed $3 billion in daily spend in 2022, similar to 2021.

Cyber Week drove $35.3 billion in online sales, up 4% from 2021.

Despite the pressure of inflation, shoppers came out in pursuit of discounts this holiday season. According to Adobe, discounts hit record high levels this season, as retailers aimed to clear through excess inventory before the end of the fiscal year. Discounts were up year over year in categories such as toys, electronics, computers, apparel, televisions, appliances, sporting goods and furniture.

“At a time when consumers were dealing with elevated prices in areas such as food, gas, and rent, holiday discounts were strong enough to sustain discretionary spending through the entire season,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst for Adobe Digital Insights. “The big deals drew in consumers and drove volume, helping retailers who were challenged with oversupply issues, particularly in categories such as apparel, electronics, and toys.”

While prices are still higher than last year, the strong sales levels are not entirely due to inflation, Adobe said. The Adobe Digital Price Index, which measures online inflation, has observed falling online sales over 2021 since September 2022. In November, online prices dropped 1.9% year over year, the steepest annual drop in 31 months since May 2020.

As for total U.S. sales during the holidays, some early figures have already shown growth over last year. According to early figures from Mastercard late last month, U.S. retail sales between Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 increased 7.6% year-over-year. Black Friday was the top spending day of the holiday season this year, up 12% year-over-year.

The National Retail Federation predicted that total sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 would grow between 6% and 8% compared to 2021, representing a total of between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion in sales, on top of last year’s record-breaking 13.5% growth to $889.3 billion. NRF will have its final holiday spending numbers later this month.

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