Global online sales hits $275B up 2% according to Salesforce’s annual Cyber Week report

Rob Garf, VP and GM of Retail, Salesforce

Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, released its annual Cyber Week report, which analyzes shopping data from over one Billion shoppers on the Salesforce Customer 360 platform and activity across commerce, marketing, and service. Overall, 2021 global online sales hit an all-time high of $275 Billion, up 2% compared to 2020.

 The data shows that digital patterns established during the pandemic are still a force this holiday season, with strong early November growth driven by consumers who were not deterred by higher prices, lower discounts, and decreased product inventory. Cyber Week itself saw muted growth as a result of these early-season shoppers working ahead of the traditional shopping peak.

Top Salesforce 2021 shopping insights

  • The major digital holiday shopping period is over: Holiday shopping began in earnest at the start of the season with consumers spending $74 Billion over the first three weeks of November up 10% YoY and $297 Billion globally up 5% YoY. The largest single shopping day over Cyber Week was Black Friday up 2% YoY global as holiday demand was smoothed out across the entire month of November.
  • Consumers find high prices and fewer discounts: Holiday inflation coupled with lower discounts meant deals were harder to find this year. Over Cyber Week, the Average Selling Price was up 11% in the U.S. and 5% globally compared to last year. Meanwhile, the average discount over Cyber Week was 24% globally down 8%.
  • Holiday supply chain crunch leaves shoppers with fewer gift options: Early and persistent supply chain issues meant digital shelves werent as well-stocked as in years past. Product catalogs over Cyber Week shrank 5% globally compared to last year.
  • Holiday inflation leads to holiday financing: With higher prices and fewer discounts, shoppers embraced Buy Now, Pay Later offerings. Globally, BNPL usage over Cyber Week grew 29% YoY 8% of all orders with over $22 Billion in holiday orders financed. On Black Friday, 7% of global orders and were paid for with BNPL.  
  • Consumers favor stores with order online, curbside pickup services: Consumers continued to prioritise health, safety, convenience, and trust this Cyber Week.

“While online sales leveled off over Cyber Week compared to the holiday surge we experienced during the pandemic, digital shoppers drove significant sales for the first few weeks of November and maintained the high Cyber Week baseline they established in 2020,” said Rob Garf, VP and GM of Retail, Salesforce. “Consumers entered into this holiday season aware of supply chain bottlenecks and inflation and shopped early and often to smooth out the demand we usually see concentrated over one week.”

Salesforce powers holiday shopping

This year, Salesforce helped retailers like Crocs, e.l.f. Cosmetics and others around the world double down on digital as the pandemic continued to push shoppers toward online purchasing. Powering a record start to the holiday season, Salesforce customers drove more than 100 Million orders in November. With consumers continuing to shop online, delivering fast, easy, and personalised digital experiences is more important than ever and was made possible by:

  • Einstein: Artificial intelligence continues to play a large role in how consumers shop. Cyber Week shoppers engaged with 73.6 Million AI-driven product recommendations powered by Einstein.
  • Commerce Cloud: Global digital sales powered by Commerce Cloud grew 4% year-over-year on Thanksgiving, 7% on Black Friday and 9% on Cyber Monday.
  • Marketing Cloud: Global marketing communications surged over Cyber Week with 40 Billion messages sent, increasing 34% YoY. Mobile push notifications grew 114% and email volume increased by 25% YoY.
  • Service Cloud: Call volumes increased by 39% YoY during Cyber Week. Service case creations also increased by 38% YoY during Cyber Week. Over 5.3 Million chatbot sessions were initiated over Cyber Week.