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Early Ecommerce Insights from the 2022 Holiday Season (So Far)

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It’s beginning to look a lot like another early, extended holiday shopping season.

Following in 2021’s footsteps, the 2022 holiday shopping season kicked off earlier than ever before — and consumers are already checking off their holiday shopping lists.

Earlier this month, we unwrapped seasonal shopping trends that started to emerge as early as September. Now, we’re continuing our view of the holiday season as a whole with even more October insights.

Let’s take a look at what holiday consumer shopping trends we’re seeing so far.

October’s ecommerce performance shaped up to exceed years’ past for BigCommerce merchants. Here are the top trends we’re seeing:  

Consumers are indeed shopping earlier. 

The month of October brought more online orders, increased gross merchandise value (GMV) and higher average order value (AOV) compared to 2021. 

Inflation and the possibility of tightened purse strings have not kept customers from tackling their early holiday shopping. Thanks to steep early discounts and the opportunity for spread-out spending, it appears customers have been able to keep their holiday shopping spirits high.

According to a survey from Deloitte, consumers are planning to spend relatively the same amount on gifts this year even despite inflation, but will cut back on the number of gifts they buy overall. While your coworkers or neighbors might not surprise you with something under the tree, your loved ones still plan to have you at the top of their list.

Marketplaces and social commerce still shine.

If we’ve learned anything the past few years, it’s that an omnichannel presence is a must if you want to remain competitive in today’s retail landscape.

Early holiday shopping habits have proven no different.

Marketplaces like Walmart, Amazon, eBay and more saw an increase in October orders year-over-year (YoY) among BigCommerce merchants. The precedent was set early with Amazon Prime members snagging more than 100 million items during Amazon’s Prime Early Access Sale on October 11–12. 

Social commerce also continues to shine bright this season. According to Deloitte, more than one-third (34%) plan to use social media for holiday shopping, and this is even higher for Gen Z (60%) and Millennials (56%).

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) offers relief on budgets. 

A National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted in late September revealed one-fourth (25%) of consumers plan to use services like BNPL to help cover the cost of gifts and other holiday items this year. 

BigCommerce BNPL usage for the month of October did, in fact, show an uptick with an 8% increase in BNPL orders YoY.

This especially proved true for bigger ticket items. The top BNPL gateway’s AOV was over three times as high as other payment gateways.

The Final Word

The countdown to Cyber Week is officially on.

If things remain on track with 2021 patterns, we’ll expect to see another year of overall holiday ecommerce growth. This year, U.S holiday retail sales are expected to grow 7% YoY to surpass $1 trillion for the first time. 

While Cyber Five is expected to lose share overall due to the shift in earlier spending, Cyber Monday and Black Friday are still expected to rank as the top two days of the entire season.

It appears that even amidst inflation and a recession this holiday season, the fact remains: consumers are still shopping online. 

Stay tuned for our Cyber Week Trends Report on The BigCommerce Blog to see how the rest of the 2022 season shapes up.

Krystin Gresham avatar

Krystin Gresham is a Content Marketing Manager at BigCommerce where she focuses on thought leadership content. Krystin holds a BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University. With a background in both retail and tech, Krystin enjoys staying up on the latest retail and technology trends in the ecommerce industry. When she's not crafting content, Krystin enjoys traveling with her husband and volunteering with the Junior League of Austin.