Holiday shopping in the United States - additional information
In the past decades, giving gifts and even treating oneself with a long-longed-for item around Christmas has become as traditional as hanging socks and singing carols. Although the consumerism associated with the holiday season in North America and many West European countries has sometimes come under criticism, prompting reactions such as “Buy nothing Christmas” and “Buy Nothing Day,” business is still better than ever. In fact, according to industry experts, the holiday season can account for as much as twenty to forty percent of a retailer's annual sales. In 2016, holiday season sales mainly consisting of gifts, decorations, foods and other celebration supplies were valued at some 656 billion U.S. dollars.
The popularization of the internet and the increasing availability of online shopping platforms have further increased the holiday buying frenzy by stimulating online shopping during the winter season. In 2016 , retail e-commerce sales in the United States amounted to close to 400 billion U.S. dollars while online shopping during November and December 2014 accounted for over 63 billion U.S. dollars in sales. Furthermore, due to the widespread use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, more and more consumers do their shopping on the go. During the 4th quarter of 2014, mobile e-commerce spending in the United States surpassed 10 billion U.S. dollars for the first time and kept steadily at it.
The holiday shopping season starts as early as October and features a number of special days, such as Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday, which retailers use to push even more the already high sales around that time of year. The 2016 Cyber Monday was the most successful day in online shopping history, with over 2.67 billion U.S. dollars spent on internet purchases. The day, which takes place on the first Monday after Thanksgiving and features online-only deals, was first observed in 2005 in the United States but has also been adopted in countries such as Argentina, China, Uganda, Denmark or Ireland.