Holiday sales are expected to grow 7% compared to last year : Adobe

The 8 Predictions 

There is a ‘great acceleration’ underway—an event in which there is mass  eCommerce adoption across all industries. According to eMarketer, nearly half  of consumers have shifted their spending towards online channels, across all  categories ranging from apparel to electronics1. Online orders are also seeing two  to three times year-on-year growth, with some retailers seeing increases of more  than 20 times. 

What’s more, lockdown mandates and self-isolation practices have dramatically  changed consumption behaviour, and this shift is reinforced by the holiday  season. Anyone, especially businesses and shoppers, know this is the busiest time  of the year and a time when eCommerce activity often breaks records.  

Ahead of the holiday season, Adobe had several in-depth discussions with  industry insiders and investigated what businesses can expect from eCommerce  over the coming months. In this report, you will see 8 predictions and insights  from these experts to help businesses ensure they’re prepared for the changing  environment.  


Personalisation  at scale will  accelerate. 

For as long as retail has been around, personalisation has been at the heart of it.  The ability for a store associate to suggest the perfect accessory for an outfit, give  an informed opinion on which paint colour will go best with the sofa fabric or  recommend the perfect wine to complement your meal—this kind of individualised  human-to-human interaction has always been the definition of outstanding  retail experiences.  

And this holiday season, as MarTech continues to become more accessible, we will  see personalisation at scale accelerate. According to a global survey conducted by  Forrester Consulting, 54% of retail marketers are using AI-driven personalization  across channels to drive loyalty and growth—especially vital this holiday season2


Ben Popplestone 

Head of Commerce Customer Success 

Adobe DX APAC 

“MarTech is increasingly becoming more  accessible and adopted across eCommerce  businesses. We will see personalisation  at scale this holiday season and it  will become a big differentiator for eCommerce businesses.” 

The Great Acceleration | ©2021 Adobe. All Rights Reserved 33 


Jeremy Meltzer 

Founder & CEO

i = Change 

“Consumers will shop for values more than  ever this holiday season. Brands with a  clear and authentic purpose beyond product  will do better than their competition.” 

The Great Acceleration | ©2021 Adobe. All Rights Reserved


Brands with  a meaningful purpose will race ahead. 

81% of global consumers feel strongly that companies should be  doing more to protect the environment. That includes manufacturing  sustainably made goods and packaging, using eco-friendly transportation  methods to move those goods, and more4. What’s more, the pandemic  has made consumers realise the imperative for businesses to align their  operations with the common good.  

This holiday season will see consumers opt for brands that embody this  keen sense of purpose.  


Shipping speed  will become a key  


Tanuj Rastogi Founder & CEO 18th Digitech deciding factor. “Shipping will be a big differentiator. Due to delayed shipping, brands that offer click & collect or faster shipping will win  

Last year shipping container vessels arrived on time 80% of the time, the chances  of that happening now are only about 40%5. Due to the pandemic, there has  been a global delay in shipping and brands need to adapt their shipping strategy  and ensure global supply chain challenges do not get in the way of a successfully  holiday season. 

Some common strategies to cope with these problems are Click & Collect,  establishing partnerships with dedicated eCommerce shipping providers and by  shifting focus to customers within a closer geographical proximity.  

a higher share of consumer wallets.”

The Great Acceleration | ©2021 Adobe. All Rights Reserved 5 5 


Nathan Brown 

CEO Global Marketplace  

Click Frenzy 

“Record volumes bring in record returns.  Businesses must be ready to fulfil those  returns and solve consumer problems  quickly to avoid consumer grievances.” 

The Great Acceleration | ©2021 Adobe. All Rights Reserved


Be prepared for record returns.  

This year will see record shopping volumes as online shopping  continues to accelerate and economies reopen. Businesses need to  plan for success as well as be ready to have a robust returns strategy  to cope with record volumes. 

Ensure that you have your processes set in place such as a product  return strategy, be it outsourcing to a 3rd party returns logistic  provider, allowing customers to return directly to a physical store  or in the case of eCommerce only stores, return to your warehouse.  Also be sure to quickly respond to any consumer complaints to  avoid backlash on social media. Let happy shoppers keep shopping,  and keep unnecessary unhappiness at bay this holiday season. 


An end to the price war. 

eCommerce pricing has always been a race to the bottom but given the  pandemic, this year’s holiday season will prove different. Due to shopper  appetite, shortages and supply constraints, businesses will be able to price  their goods higher. It’s therefore no surprise that holiday sales this year  are expected to grow at least 7% compared with last year, according to  forecasts from Bain, Deloitte and Mastercard6.  

The shortage of goods and supply disruptions is a double-edge sword. It  can prevent retailers from accessing more merchandise and inventory, but  on the flipside, it also offers them pricing power over shoppers. Especially  as shoppers have come to expect fewer discounts, longer shipping times  and limited inventory at stores—they will be willing to fork out more.  


Maurizio Stella 

Director of Commerce 

Ranosys Technologies  

“There is a shortage of goods and  consumers can’t go out in the world to  buy them. This year we won’t see deep  discounting as consumers are ready to  pay a reasonable price for what they  need and want.”  

The Great Acceleration | ©2021 Adobe. All Rights Reserved 77 


Tom Franey 

Head of E-Commerce Motorcycle Holdings  


Shoppers will crave the human touch. “Consumers crave human connections and  brands that can build digital experiences will see success during the holiday season.   This can be done by hosting events, live  commerce or contests on social media.”  

The Great Acceleration | ©2021 Adobe. All Rights Reserved

Empathy and ingenuity bring people together. Even when apart, your  brand can be the bridge that links people with their needs and wants.  Whether you offer your customers VIP-centric virtual events, or run  celebrity-driven campaigns7, showing that you empathise with your  customers’ contexts—working from home, working parents, you name  it—will position your brand as a highly relevant and aligned with your  shoppers’ everyday realities.  

Brands that can simulate or deliver authentic connections for customers  will therefore achieve top-of-mind awareness and a visceral connection  with all that is warm, fuzzy, and everything nice this holiday season. 


Be prepared for unconventional shopper journeys.  

Companies that pay attention to and plan for unconventional shopper journeys, report  conversion rates approaching 30%—up to ten times higher than in conventional  eCommerce. In 2020, the first 30 minutes of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day presales campaign  on Taobao Live generated a whopping $7.5 billion in total transaction value8

Another example: live commerce offers a way for retailers to cater for unconventional  consumer journeys. It is entertaining and immersive, keeps viewers watching longer,  and gets them in the mindset for relevant purchases. It offers a telescopic perspective  into customer decision journeys from awareness to purchase8. These unconventional  consumer journeys are non-linear and can be accelerated with time-limited tactics such  as one-off coupons to generate a sense of urgency.  

And this holiday season, we will see unconventional consumer journeys at play  across APAC. 


Priyanka Gargav 

Commercial Head  

SEA and HK at Adyen 

“Be prepared for unconventional  shopper journeys that comprise of  multiple channels, both online  and offline.’’ 

The Great Acceleration | ©2021 Adobe. All Rights Reserved 9


Rhys Thomas 

Head of Partner Success 


“Payment options are becoming  an increasingly important type of  preference, and one that is driving  loyalty, repeat purchase and overall  value for retailers.” 

The Great Acceleration | ©2021 Adobe. All Rights Reserved


Consumers will  demand multiple  payment options and  rich experiences. 

The past 18 months has given us 20/20 vision when it comes to  

the agility required to capitalise on new opportunities and shifting  landscapes. Today’s consumers will increasingly expect businesses to  offer highly tailored and personalised experiences and they want them  easily accessible at the right time and in the right place.  

It’s therefore wise to ensure that you’re offering a variety of payment  options at the checkout and that they are available however shoppers  choose to shop be it in-store or online. But it doesn’t just stop at one  element like payments. Making sure the entire shopping journey  is smooth and frictionless is critical. Offering a rich and intuitive  

experience is no longer going above and beyond, it’s the standard that  everyone has to meet. 

Get ready to accelerate your sales this holiday season.  

The coming holiday season will be the biggest shopping season yet. To get ahead, retailers will need to ensure their holiday marketing connects with shoppers in the right way at the right time throughout the festive season ensuring a smooth shopping experience for all. Because it’s not just about the moment of purchase, it’s about the entire holiday shopping journey—and depending on who the consumer is, this could be a matter of months or just seconds. Through the lens of 8 industry insiders, we hope you found these predictions insightful in formulating your eCommerce strategy. Now is the time to get ready, get  set, and sell.  


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