US online holiday spending up 5% on steep discounts, BNPL options – report

(Reuters) – Online spending by U.S. shoppers rose 4.9% during the 2023 holiday season, an Adobe Analytics report showed on Thursday, as intense promotions on items such as electronics and apparel, as well as deferred payment options helped fuel consumer appetite.

Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, Americans spent about $222.1 billion online, a touch above Adobe’s earlier projection of $221.8 billion, the report said. In 2022, online spending grew 3.5%.

Heavy discounts on everything from TVs, smart speakers and tablets to sporting goods and furniture during some of the biggest shopping days such as Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving and Black Friday encouraged cautious shoppers to open their wallets.

Consumers also leaned on ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) services, with a 14% jump in usage.

“In an uncertain demand environment, retailers leaned on discounting and flexible payment methods to entice shoppers this holiday season,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.

Adobe said online spending during the period was boosted by fresh consumer demand instead of higher prices. A Labor Department report showed U.S. producer prices were unchanged in November, adding to signs of subsiding overall inflation.

While holiday sales grew this year, the pace of growth is still slower than pre-pandemic levels. Last week, Mastercard SpendingPulse report showed a slower-than-expected rise in U.S. retail sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24.

Adobe Analytics measures e-commerce by tracking transactions at websites, and has access to data covering purchases at 85% of the top 100 internet retailers in the United States.

About 56% of the total online spending was in November, when shoppers took advantage of hefty discounts during the Cyber Week to make purchases, according to Adobe.

A majority of the deals were for electronics, where discounts peaked at 31% off listed price versus 25% in 2022. Toys saw discounts as high as 28% versus 34% previously.

(Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)