The pandemic has changed holiday season shopping traditions like people flocking to online platforms instead of stores. The changing trends are evident based on the revenue generated over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Data presented by Buy Shares indicates that the United States e-commerce shopping revenue during Thanksgiving holiday weekend hit $29.6 billion. The revenue is from Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, Black Friday, and Thanksgiving. Among the segments, Cyber Monday shopping was top at $10.8 billion while Small Business Saturday recorded the least revenue at $4.7 billion.
This year’s Thanksgiving e-commerce shopping was an increase of 20.32% from last year. In 2019, e-commerce Thanksgiving weekend shopping was cumulatively at $24.6 billion. Once again, Cyber Monday also recorded the highest amount at $9.4 billion.
Pandemic accelerates e-commerce into the holiday season
The spike in e-commerce shopping during the Thanksgiving holiday does not come as a surprise since many experts had predicted the trend. More consumers continued to stay away from malls as a cautionary measure to curb the spread and being infected by the virus. Most people preferred to shop for gifts from the comfort of their homes.
Furthermore, leading retailers began preparation for the holidays early. Most retailers opted to maximize the holiday shopping earnings by beginning early promotions. The extended promotional period boosted spending in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. The retailers decided to stretch out a one-day sales event, offering shoppers a reason to scramble for discounts on one-day shopping events.
Notably, heavy discounts and aggressive promotions started in early November, and it is clear they have succeeded. Combining the pandemic, the elections, and uncertainty around stimulus packages impacted consumer shopping trends; many consumers continued to hold on to their money with the hopes of getting better deals on Cyber Monday. Notably, Cyber Monday is the last shopping event around the Thanksgiving holiday.
It is worth mentioning that this year’s numbers are encouraging despite the widespread economic turmoil resulting from the pandemic. Retailers have managed to recover some of the losses. The recovery is expected to extend going into Christmas.
The changing holiday traditions related to the pandemic might have contributed to the spike in Thanksgiving holiday e-commerce shopping revenue. With slowed traveling and restrictions, most people opted not to spend their time with their families. The money spent traveling could have been redirected to buying gifts for the family instead of visiting them.
A majority of Americans were already shopping online even before the pandemic hit. However, the crisis has accelerated the trend. For example, over the last three years, Thanksgiving holiday shopping revenue has consistently remained above $20 billion.
E-commerce shopping for the remaining holiday season
Cyber Monday continues to record high revenue from the data compared to similar shopping events like Black Friday. Cyber Monday’s revenue is due to factors like it is a one-day event and most people flock to online stores for the best deals of the year.
At this point, it is not clear if shoppers will continue spending more going into the Christmas season. Some experts expect deals to dry up as the holiday approaches, while others have advised people to buy early to ensure their packages arrive on time. Notably, this e-commerce trend might shift significantly depending on how first the coronavirus vaccine is approved and rolled out.
Furthermore, the rest of the holiday shopping will be of interest to watch, considering that most people are still out of work. The high rate of joblessness forced many people to change their shopping behavior.