Salesforce Releases 2020 Holiday Shopping Report Showing Canadians Shifted Online in a Big Way

The numbers are in and Canadians increasingly shopped online during the recent holiday season, according to a new report by Salesforce.

Salesforce, a global leader in Customer Relationship Management, said in its 2020 Holiday Shopping Report that Canada saw holiday shopping revenue growth of 70 percent in e-commerce from a year ago.

It also found:

  • Pre-Cyber week sales reached 135 percent revenue growth and pre-Christmas saw 123 percent growth;
  • There was a massive 2170 percent growth in online Boxing Day shopping traffic and 201 percent year-over-year increase in Canadian ecommerce Boxing Day revenue;
  • 63 percent of Canadians completed Boxing Day transactions on their mobile devices; and
  • Canadian shoppers spent an average of $366 on online Boxing Day orders, which is a significant increase from an average of just under $100 during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Rob Garf, VP of Strategy and Insights for Salesforce, Retail & Consumer Goods, said going into last year “if somebody told me we’d do 20, 25 percent year-over-year growth I would be happy with that number.”

“I think any retailer would be happy with that number. But with people increasing their digital footprint, not just for shopping but for eating, for medical or for finance, maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise that we saw 70 percent year-over-year growth,” said Garf.

“It is not a surprise that we saw unprecedented growth during the holiday season. When you peel back the numbers there’s some really interesting trends that have emerged. For instance, Boxing Day not only for traffic but also for sales year over year. If you think about it, a lot of that was likely driven by gift cards that were given as gifts because people were worried that they wouldn’t get the packages, they wouldn’t get the gifts there in time for the holidays. So we saw an increase in digital gifting this holiday partly because it provides the recipients some flexibility in what they will ultimately buy but also it increases the confidence that the recipient will actually get the gift in time given all of the shipping issues that we’ve been experiencing throughout the year and most notably during the holiday.”

Garf said two different categories of retail did well during the holiday season — one category he described as health, safety, and fun; the other category being home decor.

“In home decor because there’s such a blur between your work life and your social life and your family life, and most of it is happening in the home, people are looking at the picture on their wall, or the couch they’re sitting on, or the rug that they’re walking on, and they’re saying wow this could really use a refresh,” said Garf.

“While this is the gift giving time of the year, people were not only buying gifts for others but they were buying things for themselves that really fit into those categories.”

The report revealed that the 2020 holiday shopping season (November to December) saw over $1.1-trillion in global digital revenue and a 50 percent year-over year-increase.

Other global findings include:

  • Digital commerce surged later in the year, despite an earlier start to the holiday season: Total Cyber Week digital sales reached $270 billion globally, while the first two weeks of December accounted for $181 billion in global sales;
  • Retailers with more fulfillment options came out on top: Those offering curbside, drive-thru and in-store pickup options experienced 54 percent digital revenue growth year-over-year in the five days leading up to Christmas, compared to 34 percent growth for those that didn’t;
  • Consumers embraced financing options: Buy now, pay later usage saw a year-over-year increase of 109 percent;
  • Sporting Goods and Home Goods were the hottest product categories: Revenue for Sporting Goods grew 108 percent and Home Goods grew 89 percent. Food and beverage also grew substantially; and
  • Retailers brace for “returnageddon”: Over $330 billion in online purchases are expected to be returned globally—30 percent of all purchases made — as a result of this holiday’s ecommerce spike.

“This digital behaviour is not like a rubber band. It’s not going to snap back any time soon even when we get through COVID . . . Over Cyber Week we saw 22 percent new digital shoppers (global) and that followed by the way the first half of the year we saw 40 per cent new digital shoppers,” said Garf.

“So what this means is new people are turning to digital for the first time and they’re seeing the access, the ease of use, and the convenience, and by the way the safety, and they’re not going to turn back to pre-pandemic shopping.

“The definition of loyalty has really changed amidst the pandemic. It’s as much about convenience and safety. So people get a taste of that and there’s a whole baseline that is set for traffic and sales that we’ll see moving forward.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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