Explore our 2018 holiday shopping report.

Get data-driven behavioral insights and spending trends from 500 million global shoppers.

Anatomy of the 2018 Holiday Shopping Season
Revenue share and discount rate
Peak mobile growth: Christmas Day
60%
Percentage of orders placed, and 74% of traffic
Revenue Growth

12%
Overall increase for entire holiday season
Social traffic
growth
34%
Overall increase for entire holiday season

2018 Revenue Growth

Global
  • Global
  • ANZ
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Nordics
  • UK
  • USA
All Verticals
  • All Verticals
  • Active Apparel
  • General Apparel
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home
  • Luxury Apparel
Cyber Week discounts moved the most merchandise.
After Cyber Week, engagement dropped and fatigue set in even earlier than last year. Retailers reintroduced attractive discounts and free shipping later in the holiday season, but it wasn’t enough.

50%
Holiday shopping completed by Monday, December 3


+12%
Overall digital revenue growth during the season


+10%
Traffic increase overall, with the biggest gains on December 23

See more cyber week stats
Global holiday shoppers embrace Cyber Week.
Shoppers across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Europe opened their wallets during Cyber Week in record numbers. For the second year in a row, digital revenue growth on Black Friday and Cyber Monday outpaced Boxing Day in the U.K. and other countries where the holiday is traditionally observed.
  • German and U.K. discount rates increased 10% and 0.4%, respectively, during Cyber Week (YOY)
  • Australia and New Zealand revenue grew faster year over year during Cyber Week (16%) than on Boxing Day (8%)
  • Boxing Day discount rates in Australia and New Zealand rose 18% (YOY)

Boxing Day Growth by Country

By Country
Boxing Day vs. Cyber Week
Cyber Week delivered bigger discounts and free shipping.
Retailers and brands promised Cyber Week deals in 2018, and they delivered. Statistics show that average discount rates climbed early during Cyber Week.

27%
Average discount off total merchandise value on Thanksgiving Day

31%
Record high discounts on Cyber Monday, the biggest of the season

29%
Average discount rate on Giving Tuesday, a 9% increase over 2017
Free shipping offers shone brightest during Cyber Week.

Discount and free shipping

Global
  • Global
  • ANZ
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Nordics
  • UK
  • USA
All Verticals
  • All Verticals
  • Active Apparel
  • General Apparel
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home
  • Luxury Apparel
Discount
Free Shipping

80%
Cyber Week orders that shipped for free


84%
Highest share of Cyber Monday orders that shipped for free


68%
Post-Cyber Week orders that shipped for free

Order and traffic growth by device

Global
  • Global
  • ANZ
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Nordics
  • UK
  • USA
All Verticals
  • All Verticals
  • Active Apparel
  • General Apparel
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home
  • Luxury Apparel
2018
2017
Order Growth
Traffic Growth

48%
Average share of orders processed by mobile phones, up 19% over 2017

66%
Share of traffic from mobile devices, an increase of 11% over 2017

74%
Share of shoppers who browsed from mobile phones on Christmas Day
Convenience gave mobile shopping the edge in 2018.
Brands and retailers are finally removing the friction between inspiration and purchase on the small screen. Digital wallets grew more popular and made checkout seamless.

28%
Mobile shoppers who used wallets like Apple Pay or PayPal

29%
Mobile orders that came from mobile wallets on peak days

90sec
Time saved by mobile wallet shoppers while maintaining order value compared to traditional payment methods
Artificial intelligence increased holiday revenues.
To increase attention, purchases, and ultimately loyalty, retailers must personalize every shopper’s journey, particularly on phones. Product recommendations driven by artificial intelligence (AI) are one of a retailer’s most effective personalization tools, and this trend saw AI influencing significant holiday spending.

16%
Digital buyers who engaged with an AI-powered product recommendation during Cyber Week

+14%
Average order value increase by shoppers who acted on AI recommendations compared to shoppers who didn’t

18%
Peak engagement with AI-driven product recommendations on Cyber Monday, averaging 15% for the season
Site search proves key to finding higher holiday retail sales.
In the digital age, the search bar has become increasingly important as product catalogs grow and shoppers do more independent research before buying. More shoppers than ever turned to site search during the 2018 holiday season.

Search usage and revenue share by device

Global
  • Global
  • ANZ
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Nordics
  • UK
  • USA
All Verticals
  • All Verticals
  • Active Apparel
  • General Apparel
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home
  • Luxury Apparel
2018
2017
Revenue
Usage
  • Revenue from shoppers who used site search rose to 24%
  • Revenue from shoppers using search surged 26% on peak shopping days like Cyber Sunday (November 25)
  • 11%of all shoppers this holiday season used site search, up 9% over last year
  • Social feeds delivered product inspiration and brand discovery in 2018, with traffic share from social channels averaging 6.2%, up 22% since last year
  • Cyber Week saw the most social uptick, with traffic share averaging 6.6%, up 52% over the last two Cyber Weeks
  • 8.5% of all Cyber Week mobile traffic came from a social channel
  • Thanksgiving accounted for almost 10% of all mobile traffic coming from a social channel
  • Traffic growth from social channels grew at 34% (YOY), compared to just 21% for mobile traffic growth

Social media traffic and order share by device

Global
  • Global
  • ANZ
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Nordics
  • UK
  • USA
All Verticals
  • All Verticals
  • Active Apparel
  • General Apparel
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home
  • Luxury Apparel
2018
2017
Order Share
Traffic Share
  • Social feeds delivered product inspiration and brand discovery in 2018, with traffic share from social channels averaging 6.2%, up 22% since last year
  • 8.5% of all Cyber Week mobile traffic came from a social channel Thanksgiving accounted for almost 10% of all mobile traffic coming from a social channel
  • Cyber Week saw the most social uptick, with traffic share averaging 6.6%, up 52% over the last two Cyber Weeks
  • Traffic growth from social channels grew at 34% (YOY), compared to just 21% for mobile traffic growth
Social fuels “most talked about” brands and products.
Social’s role in sharing, liking, and influencing spending is certainly a growing trend. Gaming consoles dominated the holiday statistics, as did established retailers and brands. The following top five brands, retailers, and products were the envy of this year’s social feeds.
Top 5
Retailers
Amazon Walmart Etsy eBay Target
Top 5
Brands
Nike Apple Nintendo Starbucks Sony
Top 5
Products
iPhone Kindle iPad PS4 Alexa
Marketing messages found customers more frequently.
Marketers aimed to reach customers early in the 2018 season on the devices and channels customers use most: their phones and inboxes. As a result, SMS notifications, mobile push, and email sends peaked early.

Marketing Messages Sent

Email Sends
SMS & Push

4B
Messages sent on Cyber Monday, including SMS, push, and email


+57%
Year-over-year increase in SMS sends during Cyber Week


+159%
Year-over-year spike in SMS sends on Thanksgiving Day, with email sends growing by 26%


+20%
Year-over-year increase in emails sent to Cyber Week shoppers

Service agents assisted shoppers on more channels.
During Cyber Week, we tracked meaningful growth in activities like service cases viewed by agents and phone calls logged by customers. Shoppers are increasingly shifting to emerging service channels like social, messaging, and chat to get their issues addressed.

Service Cases viewed and calls received

Cases Viewed
Calls Received

+16%
Service cases viewed by service agents during Cyber Week compared to 2017

+12%
Calls to customer service centers during Cyber Week, falling behind agent activity growth, suggesting that shoppers are finding alternative channels

21%
Service agent activity peaks during Christmas and Boxing Week, likely regarding order status and shipping
1. Invest in mobile and social.
The 2018 holiday season proved that mobile and social should be the pillars of your strategy next year.
2. Improve product findability on your website.
To stand out in a crowded shopping landscape, AI and site search help shoppers find what they seek.
3. Support shoppers across multiple channels.
Give shoppers a seamless experience across service, marketing, and commerce on all their favorite devices and channels.

Get our data-driven shopper insights all year long.

Subscribe to our free retail newsletter for the latest insights, customer stories, and best practices.

OR CALL 1-800-667-6389

Methodology

This report provides a snapshot of digital commerce, customer service, and marketing metrics during the busy Christmas holiday shopping season. Salesforce sourced data for this report from live digital commerce sites transacting on the Commerce Cloud, customer service activity from across Service Cloud, and marketing activity from across Marketing Cloud. This activity was collected from the peak Christmas holiday shopping season, November 20-26. The report focuses on the retail sector, and all data has been aggregated and anonymized to produce a diverse analysis set.

For the commerce metrics, time of day has been normalized to the shopper’s local time and the discount rate is calculated as the discount on merchandise purchased and does not include items already on markdown.

The Holiday Shopping Report and these reported values are not indicative of Salesforce operational performance.

For the analysis, we identified the unique periods that occur before and within the season. Those periods are defined as:

Holiday Shopping Season (37 days): Tuesday, November 20–Monday, December 26; Cyber Week (7 days): Tuesday, November 20–Monday, November 26; Post-Cyber Week (7 days): Tuesday, November 27–Monday, December 3; Mid-Season (7 days): Tuesday, December 4–Monday, December 10; Pre-Christmas (7 days): Tuesday, December 11–Monday, December 17; Christmas and Boxing Week (9 days): Tuesday, December 18–Wednesday, December 26.

* Buying intent signal includes actions such as completing a purchase, adding a product to cart, starting checkout, or using site search.