Another Rosy Projection for Online Holiday Sales

Adobe sees sales topping $100 billion for first time

November 2, 2017

Adobe predicted that online holiday season sales will rise 13.8% this year to top $100 billion for the first time.

According to the report, released Thursday, online sales will grow to $107.4 billion from $94.4 billion in 2016. That's a projected growth rate of 13.8%—a bit slower than in 2016, when the gain was 14.4%, and well off 2015's 17.7% pace.

Adobe's projection is roughly in line with other forecasts for the holiday season, including eMarketer's. Like Adobe, eMarketer predicts this will be the first year in which digital sales during the holiday season top $100 billion, reaching $107 billion, an increase of 16.6%.

Other projections have been somewhat more optimistic, but within a relatively close range. For example, Deloitte expects online holiday sales will increase between 18% to 21% to total as much as $114 billion. 

Adobe noted that the holiday season tends to show a shift to cheaper products, with revenue growth lagging unit sales growth. In 2016, it found, four in five measured categories showed higher unit growth than revenue growth. For toys, unit sales grew 39%, while revenues rose 24%. The gap was less pronounced—but still visible—in categories including apparel and electronics.

Adobe also reported that while desktop purchases still account for two-thirds of ecommerce revenues, mobile will actually be the dominant starting point for shopping this holiday season. For the first time, the firm predicted, consumers will visit retailer websites via mobile devices more than via desktops: Over half (54%) of retail site visits will be from smartphones and tablets, while 46% will be from desktops.