Salesforce released its 2022 holiday recap of November and December shopping data, which showed that consumers spent $1.14 trillion online globally, flat year over year (YoY) and $270 billion in the U.S., up 5 percent from the 2021 period.

The customer relationship management firm 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.

Highlights from the findings include:

  • Holiday returns spiked to record highs. Salesforce forecasted that more than 1.4 billion orders purchased during the 2022 holiday season would be returned. The holiday data it collected showed it reached 1.39 billion, accounting for 13 percent of total holiday orders and a 63 percent increase in returns YoY. The numbers spiked six days after Christmas, with 16 percent of orders returned that week, a 5 percent increase over 2022.
  • Retailers got shoppers’ attention with discounts in the run-up to Christmas. After lackluster deals early in the holiday season, retailers increased discounts. In the end, shoppers saw better deals in 2022 than in the 2021 holiday season, with a 21 percent average discount compared to 19 percent the year prior. Top discount categories included beauty, skincare, and makeup, with an average discount of 29 percent. General apparel and handbags were the following most discounted categories at 27 percent.
  • BOPIS brought hope to last-minute shoppers and growth to retailers. Nearly one of every five orders placed online, globally, during the holiday season was via BOPIS. BOPIS adoption by consumers peaked at 35 percent of all orders on the Friday before the Christmas holiday. When the ground shipping window closed on December 15, U.S. companies that offered BOPIS grew revenue nearly seven times faster than retailers without this fulfillment option.
  • Social media referrals hit an all-time high. Traffic referrals from social media hit an all-time high during the 2022 holiday season, driving 12 percent of all mobile traffic (+23 percent YoY). The U.S., Belgium and Italy represented the countries with the most social media-minded shoppers.

“Retailers closed out the 2022 holiday season with stronger online sales growth than expected, driven in large part by U.S. demand, steeper discounts on peak days and BOPIS options,” said Rob Garf, VP & GM, retail, Salesforce. “Staggering return numbers showed that consumers are still cautious amid economic uncertainty. In 2023, retailers must double down on efforts to put the customer at the center of their business with data-driven personalization and efficient operations in areas such as fulfillment, service and returns.”