Holiday Shopping 2020

Unprecedented Holiday Ecommerce Gains Will Make Up for Brick-and-Mortar Shortfall

Executive Summary

The 2020 holiday season will be unlike any other. The pandemic looms over everything, creating economic headwinds, complicating the supply chain, and altering consumer shopping patterns, making this year unpredictable at a time when the stakes have never been higher.

How much will be spent during the 2020 holiday season?

We forecast that total US retail sales will rise 0.9% to $1.013 trillion. US brick-and-mortar retail will decline 4.7% to $822.79 billion, while US retail ecommerce sales will jump 35.8% to $190.47 billion. We expect ecommerce to account for 18.8% of total retail sales.

How have the events of this year affected our holiday forecast?

Our forecast is most influenced by a US economy driven into recession by the coronavirus pandemic, high unemployment, and ongoing economic uncertainty. Amazon Prime Day in October, a contentious presidential election, and a relatively short calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year will also affect holiday shopping dynamics.

How big will Black Friday and Cyber Monday be for online shopping?

Cyber Monday will once again be the biggest online spending day in US history with sales of $12.89 billion, up 38.3% from last year. Black Friday is expected to be the second-biggest day of the season, with sales anticipated to increase by 39.4% to $10.20 billion.

Which retailers will be this holiday season’s winners and losers?

Amazon will see a historically strong Q4, benefitting from the Prime Day sales, membership, and engagement bump occurring before the holiday season. Click-and-collect mavens like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy are also positioned for success. Retailers heavily dependent on apparel—particularly department stores—will struggle, and several may not survive beyond 2021.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report takes a look at our latest forecast for US total retail, ecommerce, and mcommerce, and includes trends for the 2020 holiday season amid the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

KEY STAT: Cyber Monday and Black Friday will both surpass $10 billion in ecommerce sales, while Thanksgiving will see a dramatic 49.5% sales growth rate.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Holiday Season 2020: The Pandemic Edition
  3. eMarketer Holiday 2020 Forecast
  4. Holiday 2020 Key Days and Shopping Dynamics
  1. Category and Retailer Performance
  2. Marketing Strategies for Holiday Success
  3. Key Takeaways
  4. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Christina Brandeberry
Managing Director, Retail and Consumer Electronics
Interviewed September 23, 2020
Zac Brandenberg
Co-Founder and CEO
Interviewed September 25, 2020
Don Brett
NBG Home
Chief Digital Officer
Interviewed September 9, 2020
Kenneth Cassar
CassarCo Strategy & Analytic Consultants
Interviewed October 2, 2020
Jason Goldberg
Chief Commerce Strategy Officer
Interviewed June 26, 2020
Satish Jindel
Interviewed September 18, 2020
Shelley Kohan
Shelmark Consulting
Founder and CEO
Interviewed October 2, 2020
Kiri Masters
Bobsled Marketing
Interviewed August 20, 2020
Graham Mudd
Vice President, Product Marketing, Ads
Interviewed June 24, 2020

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Forecasting Analyst

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