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Adobe: Online Spending to Top $91B This Holiday Season

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More people will browse for gifts on mobile devices this holiday season, but desktops remain the cash cow for retailers.

That’s according to Adobe’s latest digital shopping insights, released Thursday, which predicts Cyber Monday will generate $3.36 billion in sales—a 9.4% increase over last year—to become the biggest online shopping day of all time.

In addition, because Adobe expects consumers will shop much earlier and later in the season this year, total online sales are projected to hit $91.6 billion. But as a result of this extended season, some traditional holiday shopping days will lose steam. Black Friday sales growth will slow from last year’s 14.3% to 11.3%, reaching $3.05 billion. Similarly, Thanksgiving Day will increase 15.6% to $2 billion, but won’t reach the 25 percent year-over-year increase of 2015.

Most of the growth will come from large retailers, with an average sales increase of 16.6%, compared to small retailers at 7 percent. Adobe estimates that 5 percent of consumers will drive 35 percent ($38.5 billion) of all online sales for the average retailer this year, while 1 percent of product SKUs will account for three-quarters of sales.

“We expect to see a 5 percent spike in online shopping in early November and a record 24 percent increase in the last two weeks of December,” said Mickey Mericle, vice president of marketing and customer insights at Adobe. “‘Click-and-collect,’ faster shipping and retail promotions starting earlier than ever are all contributing to the extended shopping season.”

But while mobile devices are expected to surpass desktops in shopping visits for the first time this holiday season (53 percent versus 47 percent respectively), m-commerce will only account for 34 percent of sales. That’s a 19 percent gap between visits and purchases and highlights how retailers fail to convert mobile browsers to buyers, which is likely a consequence of subpar shopping experiences.

“The shopping cart is a critical page to convert shoppers, but the experience has not been optimized on mobile and it has left many users to either buy less or abandon their carts completely,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe Digital Insights. “It will be critical for retailers to better personalize the experience so that users will be compelled to purchase more on their smartphones, while better integrating technologies such as mobile wallets to create a seamless experience within apps and browsers.”

Adobe’s forecast is based on a study of 55 million product SKUs and data compiled from more than one trillion visits to 4,500 retail websites. Additional findings predict that the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day will have the highest discounts on apparel, and that 41 percent of products will be purchased at the retailer with the lowest price during the holiday season, compared with 31 percent during the rest of the year.

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