It’s another non-normal holiday season, but maybe there is no more normal and so shoppers are not going to be predictable. Most were predicting a mellower holiday shopping season in retail and e-commerce, but so far all reports, including Accorin client numbers, are indicating that business is continuing to boom — albeit a bit erratically or in slightly different patterns.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been outstanding for most e-commerce and retail merchants the last two years, and all indications are that this holiday season is going to be one for the record books for total retail numbers for the entire period; November through December. But the line is blurring between e-commerce and retail and there are some resulting inconsistencies in early reports.

What Do Early Black Friday & Cyber Monday Reports Indicate?

Here’s a summary of some of the most important numbers (with sources) that we’ve been reading about so far:

According to Mastercard, for Black Friday total retail sales grew 30% over a year ago and e-commerce sales grew about 11%, while in-store sales grew 42.9%.

For the entire weekend, according to Klaviyo and Adobe Analytics, Cyber Weekend drove a total of $33.9B in US online sales; down 1.4% from 2020. Why? People went back into stores in droves and new pandemic-born tools like BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) helped the “brick and mortar: side of retail sales by getting people out of the house and into the stores.

Hard to believe (not really) but Adobe and Salesforce are reporting different results from their merchants collectively:

“Adobe estimated U.S. online sales slipped a bit on Black Friday, competing ecommerce technology provider Salesforce Inc. estimated that web sales Friday increased 5% year over year in the U.S. to $13.4 billion and 2% globally to $63.4 billion. Salesforce said its estimate is based on an analysis of 1 billion transactions that passed through its ecommerce and digital marketing software, including data from 24 of the top 30 U.S. online retailers.”

Part of the “flatness” of Cyber Weekend sales can probably be attributed to shoppers spending earlier for fear of delivery, shipping, and inventory issues. Adobe reported that if you combine Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales, there were 20% more sales than 2019. Save my cent also reported the earliness factor: 38% of US consumers planned to start stocking on gifts in October, and another 23% before Thanksgiving. Only 22% said they’d wait until Thanksgiving to start their holiday shopping.

In terms of retail industry performance so far, Nosto is reporting that the typical consumer passions around apparel, home and garden, pets, sporting goods and fashion (the old favorites for the last 20 years) all have had great 2021 holiday seasons so far — all up between 1 and 9%.

Nosto also reports on device and global region differences in holiday sales performance so far; ironically on the device side desktop sales share was up 52% compared to 48% for mobile. In addition for the consumer industries mentioned above they are (generally) reporting that conversion rate is down while average order value is up. This makes sense if you consider overall increasing online activity of consumers during the pandemic and the number of apps and browsers they keep open as they shop – it’s about choice.


We expect the Holiday Season to be another large growth story, but a number of factors need to be considered when weighing the stats from this year versus previous years:

  • Shopping kicked off earlier because of global supply chain issues
  • E-commerce tools and the overlap between online and brick-and-mortar supported a brick-and-mortar recovery
  • Pandemic-driven purchasing continued despite the recovery of travel in 2021
  • On-device consumer behavior and increasing speed and sophistication of shopping across all age segments