How Gen Z Could Drive a Record Holiday Season

With October clearly in the forefront, the Holiday Season is just around the corner, and that means retail and e-commerce sales are about to start ramping up. In fact a recent forecast by Salesforce sees online sales hitting record numbers, despite a shortened Holiday Season.

Ultimately, Salesforce forecasts a record $136 billion in U.S. online sales, implying 13% year over year digital commerce revenue growth. The firm is also predicting $768 billion in e-commerce globally. This all comes despite a shorter selling season, where shoppers have six fewer days between Cyber Week (November 25 – December 2) and Christmas to make purchases.

For Black Friday, digital revenue is forecast at $7.3 billion in the U.S. and $39.6 billion globally. Cyber Monday will bring in an additional $8.2 billion in the U.S and $32.2 globally.

Mobile is expected to dominate digital holiday sales, accounting for 70% of e-commerce traffic and 52% of orders placed.

Currently, about one in ten digital purchases occur on emerging digital purchase points like social media, messaging platforms and voice-enabled devices. These channels are at the “edge” of brand and retailer properties. The preference for shopping at the edge is even more pronounced with Gen Zs, who are 3.5 times more likely than Baby Boomers to use these emerging purchase points.

As Gen Z gains more purchasing power and influence than older generations, their preferences will bolster shopping on the edge. For the first time ever, social buying is expected to creep into the double digits this season. In fact, 37% of Gen Z say Instagram will be their preferred source for holiday shopping inspiration. A rise in purchases on other alternative channels, like gaming platforms, is expected as well, with one in four millennials and Gen Z expressing an interest in using gaming consoles to shop.

Rob Garf, VP of Strategy and Insights for Retail and Consumer Goods, Salesforce, commented:

With six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, retailers will feel the pressure to create and fulfill demand before and after Cyber Week. That said, our data indicates a very strong digital season is ahead. Retailers that provide more personalized experiences, click and collect offerings, and of course, unbeatable prices, will be the ones that succeed this holiday season.