US Holiday 2020 Review and Holiday 2021 Preview

Mixed Signals in Better-than-Expected 2020 Holidays Point to Cautiously Optimistic 2021 Forecast

Executive Summary

The 2020 US holiday season posted better-than-expected retail sales growth, as huge ecommerce gains added to a surprisingly positive performance for brick-and-mortar retail. The early outlook for the 2021 holiday season is solid despite major economic uncertainty ahead.

How much did retail spending increase during the 2020 holiday season?

Total retail spending was up 6.5% to $1.064 trillion. Brick-and-mortar sales grew 2.2% to $878.26 billion, while ecommerce jumped 32.5% to $185.88 billion.

How much was spent online on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday was the heaviest online spending day in history, rising 15.6% to $10.78 billion. Black Friday sales increased 22.0% to $8.92 billion, while Thanksgiving sales rose 21.4% to $5.02 billion.

Which retailers were the winners and losers of the 2020 holiday season?

Retail leaders in key pandemic shopping categories—including Best Buy, The Home Depot, lululemon athletica, and Peloton—were among the biggest holiday season winners. The biggest ecommerce and omnichannel retailers, such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target, also did well as shoppers gravitated to the most reliable options for delivery and for click and collect.

What is the forecast for holiday sales in 2021?

We expect 2021 holiday retail sales to rise 2.7% to $1.093 trillion, with brick-and-mortar increasing 0.9% to $885.99 billion and ecommerce climbing 11.3% to $206.88 billion. We also expect that both Cyber Monday and Black Friday will surpass $10 billion in ecommerce sales.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report includes a review of the 2020 US holiday season and an early preview of the 2021 holidays, including our recent US retail and ecommerce spending forecast.

KEY STAT: The 2020 US holiday season surpassed $1 trillion in sales.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

4expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Holiday 2020 Review: Surprising Strength amid Pandemic Economy
    3. Holiday 2021 Preview: What to Expect and How to Plan for It
    1. Key Takeaways
    2. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    3. Read Next
    1. Sources
    2. Media Gallery

    Charts in This Report

    Interviewed for This Report

    Ethan Chernofsky
    Vice President, Marketing
    Interviewed January 24, 2021
    Michelle Grant
    Senior Manager, Strategy and Insights, Retail and Consumer Goods
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    Satish Jindel
    Founder and President
    Interviewed December 28, 2020
    Michael Klein
    Global Director, Industry Strategy and Marketing, Retail, Travel, and Consumer Goods
    Interviewed January 13, 2021

    Access full deck

    View a slide-show representation of this report’s key insights, where carefully vetted data is combined with industry trend analysis, included at no extra cost.
    Download PPTX



















    Access All Charts and Data

    Gain access to reliable data presented in clear and intelligible displays for quick understanding and decision making on the most important topics related to your industry, included at no extra cost.


    Andrew Lipsman


    Bianca Carasus
    Brian Lau
    Digital Apprentice
    Cindy Liu
    Senior Forecasting Analyst
    Victoria Petrock
    Principal Analyst
    Amy Rotondo
    Director, US Research
    Karin von Abrams
    Principal Analyst

    "Behind the Numbers" Podcast