2020 Holiday Ecommerce News & Updates [November 2020]

Sarah Davis Content AuthorPublished September 14, 2020
Updated November 24, 2020




From the completely unexpected impacts of the coronavirus on ecommerce to the twists and turns of Amazon Prime Day 2020, this year has introduced a mix of obstacles and opportunities for all brands and retailers. With all of this year’s ups & downs, 2020’s holiday ecommerce shopping landscape will be like no other.

We’ll be keeping this blog post updated with all of the latest holiday ecommerce updates as they come in. Keep it bookmarked as your go-to resource for 2020 holiday ecommerce news!

On December 9th at 11:30 am ET, join experts from ROI Revolution to learn critical strategies to boost your brand awareness, bring your brand’s personality to light, and reach your full growth potential on Amazon. Register today to secure your seat!


November 24 update

What to expect during Cyber 5 2020 on Amazon

As consumers finalize Thanksgiving plans and adjust to the changes 2020 continues to bring, marketers are preparing for Cyber 5. With online shopping on the rise as the pandemic continues, we’re left wondering what Cyber 5 will look like this year.

You might have noticed that big-box stores like Walmart and Best Buy have been peppering their Black Friday deals throughout the month since the beginning of November. As we prepare for foot traffic to shift online, what other trends are we seeing that will inform Cyber 5 strategy?

In this blog post, ROI Revolution’s Marketplaces team has some insights to share about what this year’s Cyber 5 might look like on Amazon. Read it to discover just how important Cyber 5 is this year, how an October Prime Day will impact Cyber 5, how the coronavirus pandemic has changed brands’ Cyber 5 goals, and more!

November 18 update

The fastest-growing online category for holiday shoppers?

Online toy merchants are seeing the fastest growth this holiday season, with the category growing 195% for ecommerce year-over-year. Pre-pandemic, the toy category was projected to grow 10.9% year-over-year.

The pandemic caused the initial surge in online toy purchases, up 175% year-over-year in April and 180% in May. The category even continued to see growth in October, increasing 85%.

Considering many toy businesses see the majority of their business over November and December, this holiday season is projected to be huge for the toy category.

50% of all toy purchases this holiday season are projected to be made online, a level that’s never been seen before for the toy industry.

November 13 update

Holiday + COVID-19 ecommerce stats

The COVID-19 pandemic will lead to an additional $40 billion in online holiday revenue over November and December 2020, according to new data from Digital Commerce 360. Pre-pandemic, this level of digital holiday shopping wasn’t expected to be reached for another four years.

For the first time ever, more than a quarter of holiday sales will occur online in 2020. In fact, US consumers are expected to spend a collective 43.3% more with online retailers this holiday season, a total of $198.73 billion. That’s a 26.1% increase in web penetration, up from 19.2% in 2019.

Along with this ecommerce shift, in-store sales are projected to decline 3.7% year-over-year. Brands and retailers with brick-and-mortar locations can cope with this shift by offering options like buy online, pick up in-store and curbside pickup.

November 9 update

COVID-19’s impact on holiday shopping

The uncertainty that continues to linger around the coronavirus pandemic will impact consumer shopping habits this holiday season beyond the shift to ecommerce.

25% of consumers are stressed about their ability to afford gifts this year, with 30% of consumers saying they’ll spend less this year due to the current state of the US economy. In fact, 57% of shoppers rate the economy poorly – a 37% increase from last year.

Brands who are able to extend layaway and other “buy now, pay later” options like Klarna, Affirm, and Afterpay may see this holiday season may see a boost in sales. In September, Dillard’s began offering Afterpay as an option, which resulted in increased purchases and more shoppers to their website. Macy’s followed suit in October by announcing a long-term partnership with Klarna.

By offering alternative payment options that give shoppers more financial control and convenience, brands can reach wider audiences during a time of strife and uncertainty, especially over the holiday season.

November 4 update

Black Friday + Cyber Monday trends & stats

Cyber 5 2020 will look like no other – but there are still bountiful insights to be uncovered from past Cyber Weeks. We analyzed historical Cyber 5 data from hundreds of our clients representing over $50 million in ad revenue to uncover the major trends brands can expect to see for Cyber 5 2020 in our 2020 Retailer’s Holiday Ecommerce Playbook. This guide to the holiday season offers tips and insights on how you can leverage these historical trends to build your holiday strategy and stay ahead of your competition.

You can claim your copy of the report here. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the data you’ll uncover:

Overall revenue over each day of the Cyber 5, year-over-year:

Google Shopping revenue over each day of the Cyber 5, year-over-year:

Google search CPCs over each day of the Cyber 5, year-over-year:


Get your copy of the holiday report today to uncover the rest of the exclusive data!

October 30 update

Black Friday + Cyber Monday 2020 predictions

Black Friday is a mere 27 days away. The shopping holiday will look quite different this year, just like everything else in 2020. What can brands, retailers, and consumers expect?

We’ve gathered some of the most important predictions and stats to help ensure you’re ready for this Black Friday and the rest of the Cyber 5.

  • Thanksgiving + Black Friday 2020 sales will decrease 7.5% year-over-year, still reaching a whopping $11 billion (BlackFriday.com)
  • Cyber Monday 2020 sales will increase 6% year-over-year to reach $10 billion (BlackFriday.com)
  • The average American consumer will spend $664.77 over Black Friday + Cyber Monday 2020 (Finder)
  • Furniture, appliances, electronics, and travel are the top 4 spending categories for Black Friday + Cyber Monday 2020 (Finder)
  • Millennials will spend the most over Black Friday ($851.79), followed by Gen X ($679.18), Gen Z ($594.56), and Baby Boomers ($577.81) (Finder)
  • 530,000-590,000 additional workers will be needed to accommodate for Cyber 5 2020 demand (Digital in the Round)
  • US holiday ecommerce sales will increase 35.8% year-over-year to reach $190.47 billion (eMarketer)
  • US holiday in-store sales will decline 4.7% year-over-year, hitting $822.79 million (eMarketer)

October 27 update

2020 holiday ecommerce stats

Ecommerce will reach new heights in the 2020 holiday season, with consumers spending more time than ever online shopping due to the coronavirus pandemic. From rising trends like BOPIS and curbside pickup to consumers’ heightened interest in savings, this year’s holiday shopping season brings an influx of novelty for brands and consumers alike.

Here are some 2020 holiday ecommerce stats from Merkle about global holiday shoppers that are relevant to marketers this year:

  • 56% care about the ability to buy online & pick up in store this year (compared to 37% in 2019)
  • 74% will buy gifts for themselves this holiday season
  • 88% plan to purchase gifts online and ship them to recipients

October 22 update

2020 holiday ecommerce fulfillment trends & stats

Shipping delays we saw at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic will likely return over the holiday ecommerce shopping season, with fulfillment and supply chain issues likely to crop up due to heightened demand. Receiving gifts on time is always of greater concern for shoppers over the holiday season, and it’s likely that shoppers’ priorities will revolve heavily around availability, shipping, and delivery times this year.

Salesforce predicts that up to 700 million holiday packages could be delayed this year due to shipping capacity being exceeded by 5% globally. Delivery surcharges between November 15 and January 15 are expected to reach $40 billion as a result.

To help avoid this time crunch and unhappy customers, stores with physical locations are expected to emphasize options like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup this year. BOPIS will increase digital revenue by an average of 90% for retailers this year compared to last year.

Brands can help support their customers during this time by updating website copy to remind shoppers to buy early and highlighting last ship dates.

October 20 update

Live with Google: Cyber-centric holiday success

Online holiday sales are expected to reach as high as $196 billion between November, December, & January.

With 2020’s extremely competitive ecommerce landscape, it’s more crucial than ever to have a strategy to succeed over Cyber 5, the entire holiday season, and beyond.

Join ROI and our expert partners from Google for a presentation and live Q&A on November 10th at 11 am ET to unearth strategies for Q4 and post-holiday success. You’ll discover:

  • Hidden keys and to improve customer acquisition and revenue pre- and post-Thanksgiving.
  • Underutilized December ecommerce strategies to convert more last-minute shoppers.
  • Post-holiday insights to prepare your brand for 2021 and beyond.
  • Best practices for reaching new customers through Google Shopping & YouTube.
  • Historical Cyber 5 data from enterprise brands you can leverage for 2020 growth.

Now is not the time to shift into neutral. Save your spot to put your foot on the gas and outpace your competition, accelerate your brand growth, and drive more profitable revenue.

October 16 update

Let the ecommerce holiday shopping ecommence!

With Amazon Prime Day 2020 wrapping up, what some might call the unofficial start to the holiday season has begun.

The deep discounts that major outlets started promoting alongside Prime Day are expected to continue in various forms from now until the end of the holiday season, with price being a main factor in consumer’s buying decisions this year.

Prime Day was the catalyst to Cyber 5-esque sales and discounts starting so early. As The Washington Post reports, these types of sales “will extend into December as retailers drop the ‘stampede mentality’ to contend with the coronavirus pandemic.”

Among the brands and businesses having “October Black Friday” sales are Target, Walmart, Jos. A Bank, Guess, Men’s Wearhouse, Old Navy, Gap, Best Buy, Banana Republic, Office Depot and Office Max, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

October 12 update

2020 holiday ecommerce stats

You don’t need anyone else to tell you that we’re approaching an unprecedented 2020 holiday shopping season. But what do the numbers say? We’ve collected some of the top 2020 holiday ecommerce stats. Check them out below:

  • US holiday mobile retail ecommerce sales will reach $71.31 billion this year, up from $59.62B in 2019 (Statista)
  • Up to 30% of US holiday retail sales will be made through digital channels (Salesforce)
  • Up to 10% of Cyber Week’s usual revenue will go to Amazon Prime Day (Salesforce)
  • Up to 700 million holiday packages are at risk of arriving late (Salesforce)
  • 59% of consumers plan to spend under $300 on holiday gifts this year, up 9% from 2019 (eMarketer)
  • 22% of US consumers plan to compare holiday gift prices more than usual this year (eMarketer)
  • 62% of shoppers plan to buy more stocking stuffer-type items and last-minute gifts online in 2020 (Voxware)

October 6 update

Black Friday deals starting earlier than ever in 2020

It seems holiday deals start earlier and earlier every year, with Black Friday deals historically encroaching into Thanksgiving.

But with the acceleration of ecommerce in 2020 and many consumers concerned about the safety of online shopping, many “Black Friday” deals are starting before Halloween.

Walmart is promising to “spread traditional Black Friday savings throughout the season and have more deals available online,” with Kohl’s starting Black Friday deals four weeks early. Target will start introducing holiday savings this month.

Not only do 56% of US consumers plan to shop for holiday gifts online this year, but 39% also plan to start shopping as early as October.

A previous rumor suggested that Amazon Black Friday would start on October 26, less than two weeks after Prime Day. However, a snippet pulled from a Google search for “Amazon Black Friday” reveals that their deals may be occurring on November 25 and 26. The page linked does not provide any additional information on Amazon Black Friday 2020.

September 29 update

Major retailers to shut doors for Thanksgiving shopping

Major brick-and-mortar retailers including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy are shutting their doors for Thanksgiving shopping in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The holiday closings come as retailers work to avoid overcrowding their stores and allow all of their employees to have a day off.

Walmart was the first major retailer to announce it close on Thanksgiving. In a memo addressed to employees, Walmart stated in a news release that stores would be closed as a show of appreciation to Walmart associates, who have been deemed essential workers in the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will be the first time since the late 1980s that Walmart stores will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Six days after Walmart’s announcement, Target released a preview of its adjusted holiday plans, which include starting to roll out the biggest deals of the year in October to avoid large crowds of shoppers – an earlier start to holiday shopping than ever before.

Target’s plan also includes expanding same-day grocery delivery to accommodate for increased holiday demand.

Other retailers shutting their doors this Thanksgiving include Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Kohl’s.

Many retailers will focus their efforts on curbside pickup this holiday season, with curbside pickup orders at retail stores surging 208% amid the coronavirus pandemic.

September 23 update

Key 2020 holiday ecommerce stats

58% of shoppers made online holiday purchases in 2019. This number will be even greater in 2020.

Holiday shoppers are already anticipating a further reliance on digital shopping this year. 73% of US shoppers say they’ll shop more online this year, with 77% saying they’ll browse for gift ideas online, not in store – a form of online window shopping.

This dramatic shift to digital and ecommerce is the biggest transformation we’ve seen since mobile transformation.

More consumers are solving their gifting needs online, and many are actually looking for new brands. 30% purchased from a brand that was new to them last holiday season, and nearly two-thirds of consumers plan to shop at local small businesses this holiday shopping season.

This year, 2 out of every 3 US holiday shoppers will shop early to avoid crowds and out-of-stock items. If 2020 is following similar trends to 2019, 1 out of every 4 US holiday shoppers have already started shopping for this holiday season. Most consumers will have 1/3 of their holiday shopping complete by Cyber 5. 

Impulse purchases will be less prevalent in 2020 due to COVID-19. Searches for “best affordable” have grown 60% YoY, indicating a larger shift in underlying consumer needs and behaviors. Consumers are seeking value through quality and price, looking for the best of both worlds.

September 14 update

Amazon Black Friday 2020

As one of the largest holiday ecommerce retailers, Amazon will reportedly launch Amazon Black Friday 2020 deals on October 26, according to TechRadar, Business Insider, T3, and others. Tamebay, a Markplaces news website, was the first to leak the news, but did not reveal the source of their information.

According to Tamebay’s report, the Amazon Black Friday 2020 will reportedly run for three weeks from October 26-November 19 – ending before the traditional Black Friday, which will happen on November 27 this year.

Prior to this information being leaked, brands selling on Amazon had supply chain & inventory concerns about Prime Day reportedly being postponed to October, not long before Cyber 5. Amazon Black Friday 2020 ending before Cyber 5 even begins poses additional inventory concerns.

This would mean a massive Q4 for Amazon, which means competing marketplaces like Target, Walmart, eBay, & Best Buy risk losing sales to the ecommerce giant. This rumor is yet another curveball thrown at brands and retailers in 2020 amidst coronavirus, Prime Day being postponed from July to October, and general global unrest & uncertainty.

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