Skip to Content

Thanksgiving Results: Brands and Retailers Get Creative, U.S. Digital Sales Grow 17%, Mobile Soars to 60%

Thanksgiving Holiday Flash Report Results

Here are the top holiday trends and holiday insights we saw on Thanksgiving and the days leading up to Cyber Week.

A single number sums up the 2019 holiday shopping season: six. Retailers have six fewer days to attract and convert digital shoppers before the shipping cutoff date thanks to a later than usual U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. But that hasn’t stopped retailers from making the best out of a challenging situation. In the lead up to Cyber Week, retailers have been busy generating demand in creative ways. And shoppers were game to get a jump on their holiday shopping. Below we break down the top holiday trends we saw on Thanksgiving and the days leading up to Cyber Week.

spaulding holiday slam image

Spalding’s Holiday Slam

Holiday insight #1: Brands and retailers get creative before Cyber Week starts

With six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, retailers introduced innovative marketing tactics to drum up demand in advance of Cyber Week. Limited-edition merchandise was top on the list, with brands and retailers capitalizing on Millennials’ and Gen Z’s thirst for one-of-a-kind inventory. For example, the iconic basketball brand, Spalding, created scarcity with a two-hour flash sale of 30 limited-edition products during their “Holiday Slam” event on November 24.

Some brands, however, chose to spread holiday cheer throughout November. The Ordinary, an up-and-coming beauty brand, countered the rush of Cyber Week with savings throughout the entire month. Meanwhile, Old Navy chose to focus on the historic peak days by keeping their stores open for 20 hours between Thanksgiving and Black Friday. No matter what direction brands and retailers chose to take this year, the season has already shaped up to be one of the most unique ones yet.

blackout friday beauty news image

DECIEM Blackout

deciem website image

DECIEM homepage for Black(out) Friday

Holiday insight #2: Thanksgiving digital revenue soars

Thanksgiving digital sales in the U.S. grew 17% to $4.1B, signifying early confidence in the market despite economic pressures. Meanwhile, global digital revenue grew 24% to $20B as shoppers across the globe took part in the early Cyber Week festivities.

Holiday insight #3: Mobile is the Rudolph to marketers’ messaging sleigh

Just like Rudolph led the reindeers on that fateful foggy night, mobile broke through the holiday noise by delivering the most important messages directly to early shoppers. Thanksgiving Day purchases were primarily through mobile devices. Sixty percent of all digital orders came through a mobile phone yesterday, beating prior estimates. Digital traffic also topped over 70%, giving early indications that shoppers are ready to transition toward a mobile-only reality. Mobile is on its way to becoming a beacon of light as the driver for multichannel and multi-touchpoint engagements.

Holiday insight #4: Shoppers buy early — but still hold out for Cyber Week

As expected, personalized marketing messages and pushes successfully drove shopper interest prior to Cyber Week. However, orders placed were lower than we originally predicted. What does that mean? While shoppers were enticed by early and creative marketing campaigns, they continue to hold out for the expectation of potentially greater Cyber Week offers and deals before placing orders.

Wednesday, November 27, saw the most orders placed prior to Thanksgiving with 24% global and 17% U.S. digital revenue growth. So, while the majority of shoppers still wait for Cyber Week deals, marketing tactics were compelling enough for many to make early purchase decisions, especially with phones at shoppers’ fingertips to shop wherever, whenever, and however they choose.

Thanksgiving growth

Holiday insight #5: Shoppers are eager to share what’s on their minds

Shoppers took to their social channels to share what they were most excited about on Thanksgiving Day. Below are the top five brands, retailers, and products that got the most social callouts on November 28 across the globe.

Top social mentions on Thanksgiving

Want more Thanksgiving data? Access our holiday insights dashboard here, see our Black Friday and Cyber Monday reports.

2019 Salesforce holiday insights methodology

To help retailers and brands benchmark holiday performance, Salesforce combined data-based holiday insights on the activity of more than half a billion global shoppers across more than 30 countries powered by Commerce Cloud, billions of consumer engagements and millions of public social media conversations through Marketing Cloud, and customer service data powered by Service Cloud. These holiday flash reports are a derivative of the quarterly Shopping Index.

Caila Schwartz of Salesforce
Caila Schwartz Director, Consumer Strategy & Insights

Caila Schwartz is the director of consumer insights and strategy for retail and consumer goods at Salesforce. Her background includes extensive data analysis and storytelling, and her main focus is giving retailers a competitive edge by identifying new opportunities based on data-driven evidence. She has been with Salesforce since 2014. Caila is a graduate of Wellesley College.

More by Caila

Get the latest articles in your inbox.