PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

Adobe: Online Holiday Sales Reached Record $222 Billion in 2023

woman holiday shopping online

Online sales reached a new record in 2023, thanks in part to buy now, pay later options.

New data from Adobe, released Thursday (Jan. 4) showed that American consumers spent $222.1 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 last year, a 4.9% increase over 2022.

More than half of that spending happened in November, thanks in part to a strong “Cyber Week,” in which shoppers spent $38 billion.

While consumers were eager to spend online, they were also hesitant to break their budget, with buy now, pay later (BNPL) usage reaching a record high this year. The installment payment method contributed to $16.6 billion in online spending, up 14% from 2022, Adobe said.

The season saw two other BNPL milestones: November was the biggest month on record ($9.2 billion, up 17.5% year over year), while Cyber Monday was the biggest day on record ($940 million, a 42.5% increase from last year).

“In an uncertain demand environment, retailers leaned on discounting and flexible payment methods to entice shoppers this holiday season,” Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights, said in the news release.

“The strategy was effective, driving record spend online during big days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday, and a record 11 days that surpassed $4 billion in daily spend this season.”

The holiday season also saw mobile shopping outpacing desktop sales, accounting for 51.1% of sales during November and December, up from 47% in 2022. Mobile shopping hit its peak on Christmas Day, fueling 63% of online sales.

“As consumers spent time with friends and family, many used their smartphones to take advantage of final deals or to redeem gift cards,” Adobe said.

The figures released Thursday are in line with the pre-holiday forecast Adobe issued in October (it predicted mobile sales would account for 51.2% of a total of $221.1 billion in spending).

The rise in mobile payments is also in keeping with past PYMNTS Intelligence research showing a growing use of mobile devices for shopping.

“Consumers are increasingly favoring mobile devices over desktops, laptops or voice-activated devices when purchasing groceries and other retail goods,” PYMNTS wrote last month. “Compared to December 2021, there’s been a nearly 50% jump in non-grocery retail purchases via mobile devices and a 35% surge in grocery purchases through the same platform.”

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