Holiday online sales likely to remain flat YoY

Current predictions have 2023 global holiday online sales set to reach around $1.2 trillion compared with $1.14 trillion in 2022 — essentially a flat trend. Retailers are recommended to consider timely discounts, friendly return policies and the use of AI to drive personalized service, promotions and commerce experiences.

The statistics, from the Salesforce Shopping Index, are based on an analysis of more than 1.5 billion visitors to sites using Salesforce’s Customer 360 suite, including a majority of the top 30 U.S. retailers.

Why we care. It’s what we hear on the news every day. Unemployment is down, inflation seems to be under control and the economy has rebounded from COVID: but people don’t quite believe it. Shoppers are not going to cut their digital spend for the holidays, but neither are they going to throw caution to the winds and spend like never before.

Dig deeper: Marketers need to be ‘always-on’ for holiday shopping

Enter AI. With 17% of shoppers saying they have already used generative AI to inspire purchases, retailers are paying attention. Salesforce forecasts that predictive and generative AI will “influence” $194 billion in global online holiday shopping.

Just send it back. Burdened already with excess inventory, some 88% of retailers are likely to take the risk of tightening their return policies. Salesforce warns that stricter return windows — 30 days or less — could lead to 7% fewer online sales in October and November and that poor (unclear, difficult) return policies could put more than 20% of sales at risk.

Early birds. Discounts will come early this year and reach their height during Cyber Week. It’s expected that 25% of holiday digital sales will take place during Cyber Week.

Find more detail here.

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