E-Commerce

Buy now, pay later boosts online holiday spending

US consumers spent $222 billion this holiday season, up 4.9% from last year.
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Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.

With a boost from buy now, pay later apps, US consumers spent a record $222 billion online between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. That’s up 4.9% year over year, according to the latest numbers from Adobe Analytics.

As Retail Brew previously reported, the majority of spending happened early in the season; shoppers spent $123.5 billion in November. Sales events were also crucial, with the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday accounting for $38 billion in online spend, setting the stage for a slower December.

  • Spending in November was up 6% year over year, while spending in December was up just 3.7%.

Keeping shoppers interested were discounts of up to 31% off electronics, compared to a peak of 25% off in 2022. Computers, televisions, appliances, furniture, and sporting goods all saw higher discounts than the year before.

They also got a leg up from buy now, pay later (BNPL) options, which contributed an all-time high of $16.6 billion in online spend. That’s a 14% YoY jump from 2022.

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

Adobe predicted earlier in the season that it would be a record year for BNPL.

Top product categories: The research firm also found that just five product categories generated 65% of online spending: electronics, apparel, furniture, groceries, and toys. At nearly $51 billion, electronics took the lead despite predictions they’d perform poorly this season amid a lull in consumer demand.

Adobe Analytics, which tracks online prices as well, noted that spending increases this season were driven by net new demand rather than higher prices. The latest numbers from the Adobe Digital Price Index show prices decreased 3.6% in November.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.