Holiday season online sales hit record $204 billion

A U.S. Postal Service (U.S.P.S.) worker unpacks packages from a truck on December 02, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 02: A U.S. Postal Service (U.S.P.S.) worker unpacks packages from a truck on December 02, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Cyber Monday shoppers are on track to spend a record $9.4 billion on online purchases, a nearly 19 percent jump from one year ago, following strong Black Friday sales purchases of $7.2 billion. Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
By , Audacy

Shoppers spent a record $204.5 billion online during the holiday season.

According to Adobe Analytics, the company analyzes 1 trillion visits to retailers’ websites and said spending was up 8.6% online in November and December compared to the same time last year.

Online prices increased 3.1% in December 2021 compared with the prior year, as consumers showed a willingness to spend for the holidays.

Supply chain issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic caused plenty of shipping delays, but that didn't stop people from shopping online.

Adobe estimated that customers saw 6 billion out-of-stock messages pop up during the holiday season, a 10% increase from last year and a 253% increase from 2019.

One of the main factors for the record in spending was an increase in prices on goods and materials over the last year.

"It’s definitely a key contributor to the growth but it’s not the totality of the growth," Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, said. "There’s a level of just innate growth happening in overall retail sales... and we’re viewing the inflation as one of the explanatory factors."

Overall, inflation rose 7% in December, marking the highest it's been in nearly 40 years.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have traditionally been the most popular days for online holiday shopping, but this year, sales fell 1.4% between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday compared to last year.

Companies have elected to spread out sales throughout November and December, instead of placing all the good deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Online sales rose 19.2% in early November leading up to Thanksgiving this year.

"This holiday shopping season was the first time where big promotional moments like Cyber Monday and Black Friday took on less of the spotlight," Taylor Schreiner, senior director, Adobe Digital Insights, said.

The sales themselves this holiday season were also not up to the standard of years past. There was an 8% average discount on electronics, compared to a 21% discount in 2020. The average discount on appliances was only 4%, while it was at least 14% last year.

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