Many Happy Returns: Record Online Holiday Sales Expected for 2021
The 2021 holiday season should be strong for e-retailers who successfully navigate the ongoing supply chain challenges. Adobe Inc. (Tii:ADBE) projects record online spending this holiday season, with American consumers contributing $207 billion to the estimated $910 billion in worldwide spending. This projection marks a 10% increase in spending from 2020 as online retail platforms become favored shopping destinations during the pandemic.
Adobe Analytics expects the top four shopping categories of 2021 will be electronics, appliances, computers, and toys. Should that come to pass, here are a few of the market leaders that stand to benefit from these record levels in online spending and what they’re doing to grab a larger piece of the pie.
Consumers can expect Apple Inc. (Tii:AAPL) to come out swinging this holiday season. The electronics giant has extended its Black Friday sales with four-day shopping events for the past few years, and with record levels of online spending in the forecast, there is no reason why Apple wouldn’t continue this practice. With several new products that include the iPhone 13, 13 Pro, new versions of its iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, and new colors for its HomePod smart devices, Apple is gunning for another banner year, following a record fiscal fourth quarter. Last month, the company posted its best-ever September quarter revenues, which increased 29% to hit $83.4 billion.
While a gift of a household appliance may lack the allure of an entertainment system or gaming console, consumers spend billions each in this segment. And manufacturers that include Whirlpool Corp. (Tii:WHR) have invested significantly to develop smart high-tech home solutions that breathe new life into household appliances. Among the company’s more recent innovations are Smart Ranges and Wall Ovens that work with its Yummly app to provide interactive recipes that allow users to send cooking instructions straight to the appliances while providing step-by-step video guidance. In response to data showing 53% of consumers regularly make larger stock-up grocery purchases and the upcoming holiday season, Whirlpool also introduced a lineup of chest freezers that can convert to a refrigerator as needed.
Hewlett-Packard Co. (Tii:HPQ) is also getting an early start to the season, having already announced a Holiday Kickoff sale with free shipping and discounts on gaming desktops, gaming monitors, printers, laptops and accessories. HP’s lesser-known offerings include the world’s smallest portable photo printer, smartwatches, specialized calculators, and even 3D modeling computers. The computer manufacturer is set to announce fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 results on November 23. HP competitor Dell Technologies Inc. (Tii:DELL) also kicked off an early Black Friday sale, offering up to $550 off its popular Alienware gaming desktops/laptops. Just ahead of the holiday season, the Round Rock, TX-based computer-maker also launched Alienware Aurora R13, its newest line of Alienware Aurora gaming PCs.
With a portfolio of almost 1,500 brands that include Magic: The Gathering, Nerf, My Little Pony, Transformers, Play-Doh, Monopoly, Baby Alive, Dungeons & Dragons, Power Rangers, and more, this holiday season may well be a challenging one for Hasbro, Inc. (Tii:HAS). Though the toy, game and entertainment company expects 2021 revenue to grow 13%-16%, it warned supply issues could impact its ability to achieve the high-end of its forecast. While Hasbro assures consumers that it is ready to meet consumer and retailer demand for its toys during the holidays, the company added that approximately $100 million in orders went unfilled in the third quarter due to global supply chain bottlenecks.
All in all, this holiday season may well be a mixed bag for retailers as ongoing supply chain challenges could potentially offset record online consumer spending. But what seems to be certain is that most consumers are quick to forego brick-and-mortars in favor of online shopping experiences.