PYMNTS Consumer Inflation Sentiment November 2023 Banner

Mobile Set to Overtake Desktop in $221 Billion Holiday Shopping Season

This year’s holiday shopping season will belong to mobile sales and buy now, pay later.

That’s according to Adobe, which on Thursday (Oct. 5) released its online holiday shopping forecast for 2023, projecting $221.1 billion in online sales, up 4.8% from last year.

“Never-before seen discounts, and the increased usage of the buy now, pay later (BNPL) flexible spending method, which is expected to drive $17 billion in online spending (vs. $14.5 billion in 2022, up 16.9%), will drive spending this season as consumers look to stretch their budgets when making purchases,” the company said in a news release.

“Additionally, shopping on mobile devices is expected to hit a major milestone, surpassing desktop and driving over half (51.2%) of all online spending this season.”

According to Adobe, the period known as “Cyber Week,” which encompasses Thanksgiving, Black Friday and “Cyber Monday,” is projected to bring in $37.2 billion, up 5.4% from last year, and representing 16.8% of the season.

“Despite an unpredictable economic environment, where consumers face several challenges including rising interest rates, we expect strong eCommerce growth this season on account of record discounts and flexible payment methods,” said Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing at Adobe. “Buy now, pay later in particular has become increasingly mainstream and will make it easier for shoppers to hit the buy button, especially on mobile devices, where over half of online spending will take place.”

And even before consumers begin shopping on their mobile devices, brands will be trying to reach them in that space.

In an interview with PYMNTS earlier this week, Sara Varni, chief marketing officer at Attentive, talked about the reasons behind businesses’ increasing reliance on text messaging to connect with customers, especially during the holidays.

“You’re in a very personal space for the consumer, and you can deliver a highly personalized, one-to-one message,” Varni said. “The engagement is so high, and you have so much signal from that channel to really fine-tune what you say.”

Brands are retailers are also starting to launch holiday sales earlier, she added.

“I think we’ve seen a good chunk of our customer base start as early as September,” Varni said.

Among the trends they’re conveying this year, Varni noted a focus on communicating value to customers, something shoppers might want to hear these days.

That’s because — per research by PYMNTS Intelligence and LendingClub — 36% of consumers experiencing seasonal stress are resorting to using credit cards, while 40% of consumers rely on their savings, while a smaller portion are holding off on certain expenditures or reducing spending on necessities.