Photo: Salesforce

Photo: Salesforce


Digital Commerce Forecasted to Skyrocket for 2020 Holiday Season

The COVID-19 pandemic put digital sales on a giant growth spurt, and digital commerce is forecasted to continue to gobble up more of the retail market for the upcoming holiday season. Salesforce, the San Francisco–headquartered, cloud-based software company that focuses on customer-relations management, says this expansion could represent 34 percent year-over-year growth, according to a study released by the company on Oct. 1.

Salesforce forecasted that United States digital sales would grow 34 percent in retail to $221 billion during the 2020 holiday retail season.

The 2020 holiday season should be expected to be robust, said Rob Garf, Salesforce’s vice president of industry insights for retail and consumer goods.

However, “digital commerce won’t fully compensate for the projected bricks-and-mortar slowdown, but it will be critical to help retailers close the gap this holiday season,” Garf said. “Businesses that succeed during the holidays will use everything at their disposal to make shopping easy and safe, including convenient digital ordering, creative and efficient fulfillment, and responsive customer service.”

The Salesforce forecast also predicted that shopping for the holiday season would have an early start. Shopping might get its head start as early as mid-October when Amazon’s Prime Day sales event is scheduled to take place. During Amazon’s most-recent sale, the Big Style Sale held in July 2020, discounts ranged from 20 percent to 50 percent. Shoppers are also forecasted to shop early during the holiday 2020 season because they are giving packages plenty of time to be delivered.

A spike in digital commerce also might result in an increase in holiday returns. The study shows that $280 billion in online purchases, or 30 percent of purchases made globally, are forecasted to be returned.

The forecast also predicted that consumers would seek a different category of gifts this year. Expect top purchases to be home furnishings and décor, home fitness, and toys. For the 2019 holiday season, leading categories were footwear as well as general and luxury apparel.