Holiday online sales ended up at $83 billion, a 12.7% increase year-over-year, according to data from Adobe Digital Index (ADI).
Between Nov. 22 and Dec. 22, there were 31 days of at least $1 billion in online sales, which Adobe called a “drastic increase." The week before Christmas saw the biggest year-over-year growth in online sales, aided by omni-channel options like click-and-collect, according to ADI.
Adobe had predicted 11% year over year growth, but a late surge helped top that. In 2015, there were days when online orders from phones exceeded desktop orders, though desktop won overall with 56% of online traffic, according to ADI. Overall, phones saw 39% of visits and 17% of sales in holiday 2015, more than the sales or traffic driven from tablets.
Web and mobile sales are the retail story of this past holiday season, with mobile phones emerging as a major shopping channel. Mobile drove traffic that helped drive a late surge in web sales, ADI said.
Notably, social media buy buttons weren’t a major force for purchasing this season, though they remain important for marketing and awareness, according to Adobe.
“People aren’t interested in buying something while they're checking out their friends' news, but they do become aware of things that they might check out later on and actually purchase,” ADI analyst Tyler White told CMO.com (which is run by Adobe).
Omni-channel retailers successfully captured late purchases by offering in-store pickup, so shoppers could be confident that they could get their hands on late web purchases on time.
“During the last couple of years, there was a lot of talk about retailers trying to spread out the holiday season,” White said. “This year, they really weren’t able to get the buying started that much earlier, but they were able to keep it going longer into the Christmas week.”
E-mail and display advertising surged during the holidays, and, though down year-over-year, affiliate and search traffic were the most significant marketing channels, according to ADI.