Our 10 Favorite Holiday Shopping Statistics from 2021

 In Ecommerce

Despite shoppers needing to brave long lines at stores, trying to find items before they disappear off of store shelves and worrying if gifts ordered online will arrive in time; the holidays are the highlight of many people’s year.

The holidays are a very important time for ecommerce retailers, as the sales made during the holidays typically account for a large portion of the revenue made throughout the year. In this article we’ll go over some shopping statistics that will give you a positive outlook on the holiday shopping season as an online store owner, and help you better understand what trends 2021 had to offer as the New Year gets well underway.


Despite shoppers needing to brave long lines at stores, trying to find items before they disappear off of store shelves and worrying if gifts ordered online will arrive in time; the holidays are the highlight of many people’s year.

The holidays are a very important time for ecommerce retailers, as the sales made during the holidays typically account for a large portion of the revenue made throughout the year. In this article we’ll go over some shopping statistics that will give you a positive outlook on the holiday shopping season as an online store owner, and help you better understand what trends 2021 had to offer as the New Year gets well underway.

1. Mid-October marks the start of the holiday shopping season now.

The holiday shopping season traditionally begins the day after Thanksgiving with Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday, but recently retailers have been launching holiday discounts earlier and consumers are taking advantage. 43% of customers said they planned to begin purchasing gifts before the end of October according to data from September 2021. This is encouraging to retailers as an increase in sales can be expected sooner.  [Statista]

In-Store Traffic

Physical store traffic rose significantly, but was still well below pre-pandemic levels. [RetailNextSensormatic Solutions]

Some customers reported long lines and extended wait times at stores while others reported malls with few people. The mixed reports accounts for why data from RetailNext showed traffic at brick-and-mortar stores increased by 61% from 2020 Black Friday, but was still 27% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Sensormatic Solutions, another company that tracks in store traffic reported a 48% gain over 2020, but rates were 28% lower from 2019.

2. Revenue for holiday sales has increased steadily since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

Since 2010 total holiday sales has been steadily increasing year-over-year. 2020 totals were $777.3 billion and are predicted to rise between $843.4 – $859.0 billion according to the National Retail Federation. [NRF]

3. Majority of holiday shoppers are buying for others.

According to a recent survey, the majority of holiday shoppers, 27% primarily focus on shopping for others. This group is typically over the age of 55 and is the main reason Christmas is one of the top spending holidays. [Deloitte]

4. Gen-Xers have the highest average spending during the holidays.

Gen-Xers on average spend the most during the holidays from mid-October to December with a total value of $782 per person. [CMA]

5. Online gift card sales increased by over 100% in December 2020.

Gift card sales increased by 106.1% in December 2020. Encouraging for retailers, because even if customers don’t have a specific item in mind for their loved ones, they are still buying gift cards which increases overall sales. [Digital Commerce 360]

6. 29% of gift card buyers said they would choose gift cards for restaurants.

Restaurant and hospitality businesses benefit greatly from gift card sales as many gift card purchasers say they would choose gift cards for restaurants in 2020. [National Retail Federation]

7. Clothes, accessories and toys are purchased by consumers during the holiday season the most.

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 74% of shoppers planned on buying clothing, accessories and toys for the holidays. [Deloitte]

8. E-commerce retailers saw the greatest revenue increase during 2020 holiday sales.

Online retailers saw the greatest increase in total sales during the holiday shopping season in 2020 with an overall gain of +23.9% – a trend that is expected to continue. [NRF]

9. When buying for themselves most shoppers go for food or liquor.

The comfort of food and spirits are what shoppers look to if they are looking to treat themselves during the holidays. Percentage totals for liquor and food were 33% and 30%, respectively, in 2020 among shoppers purchasing items for themselves. [Deloitte]

10. 79% of shoppers waited until mid-December to start buying gifts in 2020.

Optimism for the near future – 79% of holiday shoppers procrastinated and waited until mid-December in 2020 to purchase gifts. If sales are lagging, there is still time for purchasing by customers to increase during the holiday shopping season. [PR Newswire]