This Holiday Season, U.S. Online Sales Grew to $142.5 Billion

Smartphones rack up $50 billion in sales for the first time

Average daily revenue grew to $2.3 billion versus $2.1 billion in 2018.
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Amid store closures, an ongoing tariff war and a shorter holiday season, U.S. consumers still set a new record in online sales in 2019.

According to a new holiday report from Adobe Analytics, which looked at sales from November to December, online sales in the U.S. grew to $142.5 billion, a 13% increase year-over-year. Average daily revenue grew to $2.3 billion versus $2.1 billion in 2018, smartphone purchases claimed more than $50 billion in sales for the first time, and buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) grew 35% year-over-year. Additionally, the $100 billion sales mark was crossed on Dec. 9 this year, as opposed to Dec. 15 in 2018.

Adobe’s holiday report matches the results of Salesforce’s report (though that was on a global scale).

This year’s Cyber Weekend, which set a number of new records, saw 18% year-over-year growth, with the hours of 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. as the most active during Cyber Monday, driving $2.8 billion in sales. Smartphones accounted for some of this growth during Cyber Weekend, with $2.9 billion in smartphone revenue on Black Friday and $3 billion in revenue on Cyber Monday. And even with the shopping season being six days shorter, consumers spent 28% more on average in the first three weeks after Cyber Monday than the first three weeks of the season.

The real winner of this holiday season was the smartphone. Not only did smartphones rack up $50 billion in sales for the first time, mobile phones also accounted for a 58% share of visits, representing a 14% growth year-over-year. Sales from smartphones grew 37% year-over-year, accounting for 84% of the $16.4 billion in growth and a 36% share of the revenue.

Smartphones aren’t only a vehicle to shop directly from websites, but also email and social networks, which helped pave the way for holiday growth, according to Adobe. Forty-nine percent of total email revenue was driven by smartphones, and more than two-thirds of dollars earned from social network sales were also thanks to smartphones.

And while shopping started to slow down as Christmas approached and shipping deadlines passed, BOPIS revenue increased 55% compared to the season average in the seven days leading up to the holiday. Christmas Day itself continues to show its power, with online sales of over $1.1 billion, with smartphones accounting for 67% of all visits (up 15% year-over-year) and 48% of all revenue (up 34% year-over-year).

Adobe’s and Salesforce’s holiday reports are strong indications that consumers are willing to shop even on traditionally “unplugged” holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s up to retailers to plug into that consumer behavior, finding ways to reach them and making their shopping experience more seamless with tools like BOPIS.

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