Salesforce data: 2022 holiday season online sales top $1.14 trillion globally

Salesforce released its 2022 holiday shopping recap analysing November and December shopping data from over 1.5bn shoppers on retail sites using its product, Salesforce Customer 360.

While November’s online sales were lower than in 2021 and 2020, Cyber Week deals and Buy Online and Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) offerings helped retailers drive success in 2022. Across the 2022 holiday season, consumers spent a total of $1.14 trillion online globally.

Salesforce data highlights trends that shaped the holiday season, including:

  • Holiday returns spike to record highs: Salesforce predicted over 1.4 billion orders purchased this holiday season would be returned. Today’s data shows that the number reached 1.39 billion, accounting for 13 per cent of total holiday orders and a 63 per cent increase in returns YoY. These numbers spiked in the six days after Christmas, with 16 per cent of orders returned over that week — a 5 per cent increase over last year.
  • Retailers got shoppers’ attention with discounts in the runup to Christmas: After lackluster deals early in the season, retailers increased discounts. In the end, shoppers saw better deals than the 2021 holiday season — a 21 per cent average discount compared to 19 per cent the year prior.
    • Top discount categories included beauty, skincare, and makeup with an average discount of 29 per cent.
    • General apparel and handbags were the next most discounted categories at 27 per cent.
  • BOPIS brings hope to last minute shoppers — and growth to retailers: Nearly one out of every five online orders placed globally this holiday season were via BOPIS. BOPIS adoption by consumers peaked at 35 per cent of all orders on the Friday before the Christmas holiday as shoppers retrieved last minute gifts.
  • Social media referrals hit an all-time high: Shoppers are adept at finding the products they want through all forms of commerce, but social media proved to be a growing favorite in 2022. Traffic referrals from social media hit an all-time high this holiday, driving 12 per cent of all mobile traffic (+23 per cent YoY). Belgium, Italy, and the U.S. 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 and GM of retail, Salesforce. “Staggering return numbers show that consumers are still cautious amid economic uncertainty, however.”