According to the analytics report released on Wednesday, shoppers spent a total of $204.5 billion this past holiday season. Up 8.6% from last year, there were also a record number of days when sales exceeded $3 billion — 38 compared to last year's 25.
But while sales in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving grew by 19.2%, sales in the week between Black Friday and Cyber Monday fell by 1.4% year over year.
Vivek Pandya, lead analyst for Adobe Digital Insights, told TheStreet that this year's numbers came about from a convergence of factors.
While pandemic-related supply chain disruptions left some retailers with fewer items to sell. They were also less motivated to mark them down, since items sell fast and out-of-stock messages rose by 253% from 2019, and retail is also generally moving toward periods of extended sales.
"The urgency around those days is being minimized because [consumers] are already getting exposure to those discounts much earlier," Pandya told TheStreet. "On top of that, the discounts were much weaker this year."
The average retailer cut electronics prices by 8% compared to last year's 21%, while home appliances were discounted by 4% compared to last year's 14%. Sporting goods were also cut by 6% instead of the 14% seen in 2020.
Other changes this year were strong demand for curbside pickup and Buy-Now-Pay-Later programs. Along with longer discount periods, these are shopping trends that began as a result of the pandemic but now settled firmly as consumer habits.
"These different behaviors are locking in as a result of the forcing function of the pandemic," Padya said. "We're now in this space where we have this strong level of growth that is built on a massive leap forward."