Heavy Discounts Drive Record US Online Holiday Spending: Report

By Reuters
January 6, 2023Business News
Heavy Discounts Drive Record US Online Holiday Spending: Report
A woman carries shopping bags during the holiday season in New York City on Dec. 21, 2022. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

U.S. online spending during the 2022 holiday season rose by a better-than-expected 3.5 percent, a report by Adobe Analytics showed, as retailers used hefty discounts to lure inflation-weary consumers into spending on everything from toys to electronics.

Shoppers spent a record $211.7 billion online over the holiday season, which typically starts in November and ends in December, compared with an earlier forecast of $209.7 billion, the report showed on Thursday.

Adobe Analytics, which measures e-commerce by tracking transactions at websites, has access to data covering purchases at 85 percent of the top 100 internet retailers in the United States.

While U.S. online holiday sales rose, it grew at the slowest pace as consumers felt the brunt of rising prices. In the 12 months through November, the consumer price index climbed 7.1 percent.

“At a time when consumers were dealing with elevated prices in areas such as food, gas, and rent, holiday discounts were strong enough to sustain discretionary spending through the entire season,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights.

Companies including Amazon.com Inc., Target Corp., Walmart Inc., and Best Buy Co. Inc. offered early discounts to spur demand and get rid of excess stock.

Amazon continues to be the biggest U.S. online seller, accounting for nearly 38 percent of total retail e-commerce sales, according to market research firm Insider Intelligence. Walmart is the second biggest with about 6 percent of the market share.

Majority of the deals were for toys, where discounts peaked at 34 percent off listed price versus 19 percent last year, and electronics that saw discounts as high as 25 percent compared with 8 percent last year, the report said.

A big chunk of the holiday sales came during the Cyber Week—the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday—where consumers spent a total of $35.3 billion online, the report said.

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