With the holiday shopping season behind us, retailers are now closing their books and looking forward to a new year. However, if previous peak shopping seasons teach us anything, it is that the trends we see during holiday tend to be strong indicators of what’s to come in the year ahead. Based on our analysis of half a billion global online shoppers and a billion shopping visits, we have compiled the five biggest highlights of the 2017 shopping season – and what it means for retailers heading into 2018.

A more detailed analysis of the key data points follows the infographic.


Shoppers pulled purchases earlier

Shoppers pulled their purchases earlier than ever in 2017, with Thanksgiving Day emerging as a top digital shopping day. Thanksgiving Day revenue was up 31% over 2016, a 74% increase over 2016’s growth. In fact, 32% of the entire season’s revenue was made Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, an increase of 9% from lasts year’s 29% revenue share over the same period. With shoppers deciding when (and how) they want to shop, retailers should be prepared to focus on meeting shoppers where they already are in the new year: mobile and social.


Black friday is the biggest digital shopping day of the year

For the second year in a row, Black Friday was the biggest digital shopping day of the holiday shopping season, comprising 26% of Cyber Week’s total revenue. In comparison, Cyber Monday (as big as it is) is taking a back seat to Black Friday, capturing only 21% of the week’s total revenue. This means that retailers must put just as much, if not more, preparation into their Black Friday digital strategy as their Cyber Monday strategy.


Mobile buying surges

Consumers showed unquestionable confidence in mobile shopping this season, especially on Thanksgiving, when 62% of all traffic and 46% of all orders came from mobile devices. This marked the first day when order share from phones surpassed computers. Christmas Day saw the greatest peak in mobile shopping, with 68% of traffic and 50% of orders coming from a mobile device. As we move into 2018, expect to see continued elevated mobile traffic and order shares. Retailers should take advantage of consumer confidence in mobile ordering now by embracing mobile design best practices and mobile wallet options that ease friction in the checkout process.


Personalization wins during cyber week

Holiday shoppers that engaged with personalized product recommendations were this season’s most productive shoppers. Need proof? Shoppers that clicked on product recommendations accounted for only 5% of clicks, but accounted for an astounding 30% of Cyber Week revenue. Overall, 28% of the season’s revenue can be attributed to shoppers that clicked or tapped on a product recommendation. The benefits of incorporating AI in your overall digital strategy are clear. The lesson? Focusing on AI across the entire customer journey in 2018 will be a crucial tool in building sustainable growth and shopper loyalty.


Discount rates soar

Discount rates soared during Cyber Week, reaching a peak of 29%, up from 27% in 2016.  Steep discounts also persisted after Cyber Week; the Tuesday after Cyber Monday saw a record 27% discount rate before falling back to non-peak averages. Peak discount rates re-emerged as Christmas drew closer, reaching 25% on the Saturday and Sunday before Christmas Day. Shoppers certainly saw great deals in 2017, and we have no reason to think that trend will end in 2018. That’s great news for consumers, of course, but will continue to challenge retailers to find creative ways to protect profit margins.

Want to learn more about the 2017 holiday shopping season? Stay tuned for our annual All Wrapped Up Report (January 23) for a much deeper dive into all aspects of the crucial holiday season.