Salesforce released its 2023 Holiday Recap of November and December shopping data, indicating consumers spent $1.17 trillion online globally. 

Online sales reportedly increased 3 percent for the period in 2023 after posting flat results in the 2022 period.

The global average discount rate across the holiday season was reported to be 21 percent.

Salesforce said that U.S. online sales rose 1 percent to $272 billion for the two-month period, while online holiday sales in Europe increased 6 percent versus the prior-year corresponding period. 

The company reported last year that 2022 holiday season sales in the U.S. grew 5 percent versus the prior-year period.

As reported by SGB Media, Adobe Analytics noted in early January that U.S. online sales during the 2023 holiday season climbed 4.9 percent to $222.1 billion for the two-month period.

Salesforce believes 76 of the Top 2000 online retailers in the U.S. use Salesforce as their e-commerce platform, generating nearly half the overall sales reported by company estimates. Adobe claims that “over 85 percent of the Top 100 internet retailers in the U.S. use Adobe Analytics.”

Adobe bases its data on analyzing over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs and 18 product categories. Salesforce suggests its findings come from analyzing over 1.5 billion online shoppers across its Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud platforms.

The Salesforce 2023 Holiday Recap for November and December shopping found that online business generated a similar dumbbell trend over the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as sales posted the largest growth trends during Cyber Week and the week before Christmas, with a lull in growth in between as consumers waited for deals after the initial surge. 

Salesforce said both weeks posted 6 percent growth. The first week of November posted 4 percent growth to kick off the two-month period, while the last week of the year saw sales decline 4 percent.

The customer relationship management company analyzed its November and December shopping data from over 1.5 billion shoppers on retail sites using its Salesforce Customer 360, including 24 of the Top 30 U.S. online retailers, tool.

Inflation and a larger basket affected the numbers as Salesforce reported that holiday season order volume grew just 2 percent year-over-year (YoY) compared to the 3 percent sales growth. Units per transaction, basket or cart, were up 2 percent YoY, while the increase in average selling price was 0.7 percent YoY.

Buy online/pick up in store (BOPIS) continued to fuel the growth of overall online numbers and could help to explain how online sales grow so close to Christmas. Salesforce said customers picked up at least 22 percent of store orders during the two-month holiday period and grew to at least 25 percent of all orders from the week after Thanksgiving through Christmas week, with BOPIS sales representing about 33 percent of online orders during Christmas week.

Desktop web traffic reportedly decreased each week of the holiday season, according to the Salesforce data, while traffic via mobile devices grew each week of the season, with a peak of 10 percent growth during Cyber Week, consistent with the year-ago trend.

According to the Salesforce report, email and direct traffic were the only other channels to post negative growth during the 2023 Holiday season. Email traffic growth decreased 2 percent YoY the week before Christmas and a 16 percent YoY decline during Christmas week. Direct traffic growth also decreased 2 percent YoY during Christmas week.

Salesforce data indicated that returns during the two-month holiday season were largely consistent with the 2022 season. The percentage of orders consumers returned each week was flat, except during Christmas week, when returns grew to 19 percent during the week, compared to 16 percent of sales in the 2022 Holiday period.

A new metric reported for 2024 is based on the use and influence of AI on holiday sales. Salesforce indicated that over 17 percent of all holiday orders were influenced by AI in November and December, generating $199 billion in sales. Cyber Week alone saw $51 billion in online sales influenced by AI.


For more on holiday sales trends, read additional SGB Media coverage below.

Report: U.S. Holiday Online Sales Grow 4.9 Percent

Report: Two-Month Holiday Selling Season Sales Rose 3.07 Percent

Report: U.S. Holiday Season Retail Sales at Low End of Forecast