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While many stores were closed on Thanksgiving, the heart of the holiday shopping season kicked off Thusday through ecommerce, as consumers digested deals along with their turkey.
Data from Salesforce showed a bump in sales and shopping activity on Thanksgiving when compared to 2021, as Amazon kicked off Black Friday deals a day early and many brands and retailers are running extended promotions this season.
“Shoppers went from indulging in holiday meals with family to holiday deals, turning to their phones after dinner to score big, fueling digital spend and mobile traffic growth,” said Rob Garf, VP & GM of Retail at Salesforce.
Here’s a look at key takeaways, and the data from Salesforce:
Consumers are continuing to shop, despite inflation.
Online sales in the US were up 9% year-over-year on Thanksgiving to $7.5 billion, while increasing 1% globally to $31 billion.
Online traffic was up 5% year-over-year in the US, and 1% globally.
Mobile gains, post-turkey bounce
Mobile traffic accounted for 78% of all online traffic in the US, up from 74% a year ago.
Sales spiked from 6-10 p.m. EST, which aligned with the time when people were finishing up their holiday meals.
Social media was a key acquisition channel. Share of global mobile traffic referred from a social channel was 13%, up 18% annually. People who navigated to a site from a social channel landed on a product detail page 28% more than other channels.
Increased discounts drove purchases
Online discount rates were 31% in the US, up 7% year-over-year. The discount rate was 27% globally, up 6% annually.
Average order value was $120 in the US, and $105 globally.
The verticals with the highest discount rates globally were home appliances (41%), general apparel (34%), makeup (32%) and luxury handbags (30%).
The highest performing verticals on Thanksgiving globally were electronics and accessories (+26% year-over-year), active apparel and footwear (+17%) and toys and learning (+10%).
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) transactions in the US decreased by 6% year-over-year.
Shopify also saw 6 p.m. spike.
\u201cBlack Friday is just starting; here's what we are seeing on @Shopify so far:\n- Peak sales on US Thanksgiving hit $1.52M at 6:04pm ET\n- Avg cart price is up to $109.91\n- Physical retail is back\n- Cosmetics are trending with top products from @TheBEACHWAVER, @patmcgrathreal & Merit\u201d— Harley Finkelstein (@Harley Finkelstein) 1669379621
Shopify President Harley Finkelstein shared the following data for Thanksgiving from the ecommerce platform:
- Peak sales in the US reached $1.52 million per minute at 6:04 p.m. EST.
- Average cart price was up to $109.91, up from $105 last year.
- Trending: Three out of the top four products were cosmetics.
Trending in Retail Channels
Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”