Every Thanksgiving Ecommerce Statistic You Need to Know for 2020

Online retailers will see they have plenty to be thankful for after reading this. Here’s every Thanksgiving ecommerce statistic you need to know for 2020.

Though the holiday shopping season used to unofficially begin with Black Friday doorbusters, Thanksgiving is throwing its hat in the ring as a must-watch ecommerce event. Most people get a break from work for this holiday of giving thanks, and they spend their down time online where they can shop at any time of day.

In response, e-tailers offer a cornucopia of limited time sales, discounts and other incentives to make purchases now, rather than waiting for Cyber Monday.

Thanksgiving is now an online shopping event all on its own, and it’s approaching quickly. E-tailers, are you ready? Get prepared with these need-to-know Thanksgiving ecommerce statistics for 2020.    

Ecommerce in 2020

2020 has been a key year for ecommerce despite the disruptions in supply chain activities. Store closures and local guidelines kept consumers at home throughout the spring, and they developed the habit of ordering items online. 

Most shoppers use the internet because it’s convenient, and it allows them to continue to avoid public places if they have concerns about crowds. This has all impacted ecommerce in a big way, resulting in an unprecedented spike in ecommerce sales as the world goes to online orders and local delivery in the wake of a pandemic. 

Take a look at these Thanksgiving ecommerce statistics to see what we mean:

  • 95% of purchases are expected to be made online by 2040. 
  • Ecommerce sales will total $4.13 trillion this year.
  • 51% of online shoppers are checking out on their mobile devices.
  • Mobile commerce will comprise 72.9% of market share by 2021.
  • 33% of shoppers buy online at least once per week.
  • US consumers spend $1,800 online per year, on average.
  • 58% like to shop online because the internet is available 24/7.

Local Stores Are Closed on Thanksgiving

In years past, retailers have opened their doors late on Thanksgiving to kick start their Black Friday shopping events.

There have always been criticisms of this tradition, but it was a staple of the holiday shopping season. Shoppers were able to get a jump on their gift purchases while saving money at the same time. Retailers got the chance to attract shoppers before the competition did. It was a system that worked well for both parties, but it may see its end this year. Many brick-and-mortar stores have announced they will be closed on Thanksgiving day. 

The announcements came as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, though many businesses have said that the holiday is also a chance to give staff some time off.

Here are some of the retailers closing their doors for Turkey Day:

  • Best Buy
  • JCPenny
  • Kohl’s 
  • Sam’s Club
  • Target
  • Walmart

More stores—Costco, Lowe’s and Petsmart, to name a few—are typically closed on Thanksgiving and will likely continue that trend. With so many businesses closed for the day, this is the time for e-tailers to shine because the interent is always open for business.

Thanksgiving Sales Surpass the $4 Billion Mark

A study by Adobe Analytics data revealed 2019 to be the year where Thanksgiving day sales surpassed the milestone $4 billion mark and landed at a whopping total of $4.2 billion. It was a 14.5% increase year-over-year from the $3.7 billion online shoppers spent in 2018. Per Salesforce, this grew global digital revenue by 24% to $20 billion that year. 

E-tailers used strategies like early access to sales, flexible fulfillment options and BOPUS (Buy Online; Pickup In-Store), if available, to generate roughly three times their revenue from Thanksgiving the year before. 

Considering the pace of online spending thus far in 2020, we expect this year’s Thanksgiving to be just as plentiful for e-tailers. The holiday shopping season is approaching at breakneck speed, so now is the time to implement new strategies and ideas.

Average Order Value Is Roughly $140

High average order values are every e-tailer’s dream come true. Each shopper spending more at checkout quickly adds up and supercharges your bottom line. Over the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday weekend, BigCommerce reported AOVs of $140. The fun doesn’t stop there. Average order value over the entire holiday season rang in at $132 last year, meaning weeks and weeks of big spending. 

Are you doing everything you can in your online store to maximize your customers’ average order values? These are some proven methods to give AOV a major boost:

For a more detailed breakdown, don’t miss our related guide: 11 Methods You Can Use to Increase Average Order Value.

Conversion Rates Soar to 6.4%

Ecommerce isn’t exactly known for high conversion rates. It’s a competitive space with e-tailers jockeying for shoppers’ attention. They then nurture them through nearly a dozen touch points before they make a purchase. Online sellers have to completely optimize the customer journey, and even then, lot of optimization is required to improve conversion rates to really make their end of quarter numbers stand out.

However, here’s something to be thankful for: Conversion rates soar during the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday weekend, hitting a peak of 6.4% on desktop, per Statista.

Other devices’ conversion rates aren’t too shabby, either. Recent reports find that 3.2% of mobile shoppers convert, as do 5.5% of those using tablets. Overall, the holiday shopping season sees an average 4.7% conversion rate for online sales. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, indeed. 

Right now is when you need to revamp your site so you can take advantage of shoppers’ festive spirits and hit those conversion rate peaks. Here are some ideas:

  • Implement free shipping & hassle-free returns
  • Offer a price-match guarantee
  • Enhance customer support with chatbots/live chat
  • Feature product videos and convert more often
  • Add verified product reviews
  • Use digital coupon codes
  • Get social!  

Need even more tips to help you boost your ecommerce conversion rates? We have a guide for that, too: 7 of the Best Ecommerce Optimization Tips You’ll Ever Learn.

Mobile Orders Take (Almost) Half the Pie

No, we don’t mean the pumpkin pie. Adobe found 45% of online Thanksgiving sales were made by mobile shoppers last year, which is a huge 25% jump on 2018’s numbers.

It’s even more impressive if you take a look at the entire holiday season—you’ll see mobile shopping was up 30% last year. Shoppers are also using their mobile devices more to browse, evidenced by the 63% of ecommerce website traffic that came from smartphones.

As we’ve been seeing over the last few years, mobile commerce is truly a force to be reckoned with. eMarketer projected half of all online sales to be made via smartphone as early as next year, which translates to $3.2 trillion. 

You know the drill by now. Check out the latest scoop on the mobile commerce revolution here.

When you’re looking to market your Thanksgiving sales, start with paid search. It was the number one sales driver last year at 24%, followed by direct traffic at 21% and organic search at 19%. 

Don’t write off your tried and true marketing tactics, though. Email still drove 16% of sales last holiday season, up 9% from 2018. We’ve said time and time again that email marketing is cool againespecially during the holidays when you can send festive messages to your customers and prospects. 

The surprising statistic about purchase drivers is that social media only contributed to 2.6% of online sales. Given the rise of social commerce and influencer marketing, this was expected to be a greater share. E-tailers who don’t already see exceptional ROI from their social media marketing are free to focus on other strategies to drive Thanksgiving sales. 

Thanksgiving Marks a 244% Rise in Sales

Per Adobe, “ecommerce giants” with annual revenues over $1 billion saw a massive 244% rise in sales last year, and smaller retailers still saw a 61% lift.

This is likely because the giants have flexible fulfillment options in place and can offer services like BOPUS (buy online, pick up in store) and curbside pickup.

The data backs it up: Adobe also found that 61% of online shoppers plan to utilize same-day shipping and/or pickup options. 

$1 Billion in Sales Earned Daily in November

Adobe’s data revealed a staggering statistic: Each day in November prior to Thanksgiving surpassed $1 billion in online sales, and some days even reached $2 billion. The ubiquity of mobile devices and the availability of earlier sales have driven consumers to start their holiday shopping sooner than Black Friday. This boosts Thanksgiving sales, but it also makes November as a whole a busy month for e-tailers. 

December is even busier, according to the report. Average daily sales totaled $2.3 billion last year, with the exception of $850 million on Christmas Eve.

189.9 Million Americans Will be Shopping

Last year broke records, according to almost CNN (and every other media outlet reporting on the subject matter). Nearly 190 million Americans shopped between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday in 2019, up 14% from 165.8 million shoppers the year before. 

Though 37.8 million Thanksgiving shoppers visited stores last year, we probably won’t see that many at brick-and-mortar locations this season. Instead, it’s likely that there will be far more online shoppers in 2020, which will outstrip the 49 million reported last year.

Free Shipping Convinces Hesitant Shoppers

Yet another reason to implement free shipping in your online store: It convinces hesitant shoppers to purchase items they were unsure about.

  • Roughly half (49%) of shoppers cited free shipping as the deciding factor to follow through with a purchase, up 7% from the year before.
  • Other key factors were availability of BOPUS (20%, up from 15% in 2018), limited time sales (36%) and user-friendly websites (21%).   

2020 Holiday Shopping Predictions

In terms of holiday shopping, Thanksgiving is just the beginning. It’s followed by the shopping extravaganza that is Black Friday and its ecommerce counterpart, Cyber Monday.

As we’ve seen, this is a massive weekend for e-tailers because of the trend toward extended sales and catering to the early shoppers. There’s then a blitz that largely lasts through December as consumers buy gifts for their loved ones (and themselves) to celebrate the holidays.   

It’s never too early to look ahead, especially toward the busiest time of year. Let’s take a look at some predictions for this holiday season. 

  • Spend will increase: Back in February, eMarketer reported a 3.4% increase in retail spending, which would bring the total to $1.04 trillion. The intelligence hub sees an even brighter future for ecommerce. Online spend is predicted to increase by 13.9% to $156.69 billion. This means huge potential growth for your online store on Thanksgiving and beyond. 
  • Consumers have a negative outlook: Last year’s consumer sentiment report by Deloitte revealed that even pre-pandemic, shoppers were concerned about the financial landscape in 2020. Specifically, 44% expected a weaker economy. This year was full of economic challenges, but consumers have already proven they are willing to shop online. The trend is expected to continue into the holiday season. 
  • Most shoppers will spend the same or more: Deloitte also discovered 80% of shoppers plan to spend the same amount or more on holiday purchases in 2020. Of the 20% that plan to spend less, 9% are prioritizing saving over spending, 8% are focusing on debt and 7% are handling home troubles. 
  • The pandemic may provide a boost: The jury’s still out on this one, but Think Tanks anticipate the coronavirus pandemic to drive more online sales throughout the holidays. (Others believe the impact won’t be felt until 2021.) Ecommerce behemoths like Amazon will reap the greatest rewards, but a boost to the entire e-tail industry benefits even the smallest businesses.

Ecommerce Holidays in 2020

Thanksgiving isn’t the only shopping holiday coming up. Here’s a quick look at some important dates to get you prepared for the upcoming season:

  • Columbus Day / Indigenous People’s Day: October 12. Also known as “Be Prepared Day,” this is when you’ll see online orders pick up slightly.
  • Halloween: October 31. Offering spooky good deals on Halloween can kick start your busy season, and shoppers will be on the lookout.  
  • Veterans’ Day: November 11. This federal holiday is observed by many companies, and down time leads to online shopping.
  • Black Friday: November 27.
  • Cyber Monday: November 30.

Need even more tips? Read our related post: The Ultimate Guide to Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Or glean some tips from the infographic below.

Online retailers will see they have plenty to be thankful for after reading this. Here’s every Thanksgiving ecommerce statistic you need to know for 2020.

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