Salesforce Research Reveals AI, Mobile & Social Drove Digital Transformation This Holiday Shopping Season
Social media was the breakout channel, with a 34 percent increase in social traffic and Facebook/Instagram accounting for 94 percent of all social traffic to retail sites
Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, released the 2018 Holiday Shopping Report, revealing the trends, data and insights brands and retailers need to prepare for the 2019 holiday shopping season.
Top Salesforce 2018 Holiday Shopping Insights
For the report, Salesforce combined insights on the activities of hundreds of millions of global shoppers across more than 30 countries powered by Commerce Cloud, billions of consumer engagements powered by Marketing Cloud, and millions of customer service cases viewed in Service Cloud to give retailers the data and insights they need to prepare for the 2019 holiday shopping season. The season’s top retail highlights and trends include:
- Retailers saw strong digital growth this holiday season: Salesforce Commerce Cloud customers saw a record amount of orders this season (November 20 through December 26), with 18 percent growth in digital orders and a 12 percent increase in digital revenue year-over-year. Between November 20 and December 3, 25 percent of shoppers displayed a buying signal, such as completing a purchase, adding a product to cart, starting a checkout, or using site search – the highest rate ever recorded – indicating early it would be a strong holiday season. Fifty percent of holiday shopping was completed by Monday, December 3. By December 15, 80 percent of shopping was complete, just in time for the USPS Christmas shipping deadline on December 14.
- For the first time, mobile shopping eclipsed desktop: Forty-eight percent of orders came from mobile devices, compared to 44 percent from computers (mobile orders were up 19 percent over 2017). Sixty-six percent of traffic came from mobile devices, an increase of 11 percent over 2017. A resounding 74 percent of shoppers browsed from mobile phones on Christmas Day.
- Artificial intelligence boosted holiday shopping revenues: Sixteen percent of Cyber Week buyers engaged with AI-powered product recommendations and spent 14 percent more than those that did not. AI-driven product recommendations saw peak engagement on Cyber Monday, with 18 percent of buyers engaging and averaged 15 percent for the season.
- Significant increase in digital wallets made checkout seamless: Twenty-eight percent of mobile shoppers used wallets like Apple Pay or PayPal and 29 percent of mobile orders came from mobile wallets on peak days including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With reduced friction between discovery and purchase, shoppers using mobile wallets checked out 90 seconds faster than those that did not.
- Social media was the breakout channel for holiday traffic. Social traffic grew 34 percent year-over-year for the entire holiday season, with Facebook and Instagram accounting for 93 percent of social-referred visits. Nike, Amazon and the iPhone were the most talked about companies and products on social media this holiday season.
“Retailers saw strong digital growth this holiday season,” said Rob Garf, VP, Industry Strategy for Retail, Salesforce. “Rather than the retail apocalypse that many have proclaimed, we saw signs of a massive digital transformation. Enhancements in artificial intelligence, mobile, and social triggered a fundamental shift in the way shoppers will browse and buy into the future.”
Salesforce Powers the Holiday Season
Salesforce delivers massive scale in business-to-consumer (B2C) CRM. Here’s how Salesforce helped retailers power personalized commerce, marketing and customer service throughout the 2018 holiday season:
- Commerce Cloud customers saw more than 18 percent growth in digital orders placed year-over-year and global brands and retailers saw more than 12 percent overall digital revenue growth during the season. Brands and retailers saw a 10 percent overall traffic increase, with the biggest gains on December 23.
- Marketing Cloud sent over 88 billion emails, mobile SMS and push notifications this holiday season. That is a 23 percent year-over-year increase in email sends and 25 percent year-over-year increase in messages (emails, sms and push) sent during the entire holiday season.
- Service Cloud agents viewed more than 2.7 billion customer service cases and received more than 1.2 billion customer service calls this holiday season.