Etsy, Target and Kohl’s among the biggest winners this holiday shopping season

Key Takeaways:

• Pre-Thanksgiving sales at all retailers studied brought in more online spend than last year, with Target seeing the most growth among big box retailers at 167%.

• Each merchant pulled in greater spend during Thanksgiving week than during the week of Amazon Prime Day. Amazon saw spend fairly balanced across both sales cycles.

• Etsy grew their online spend the most (115%) for the Black Friday to Cyber Monday period, compared to last year.

Amazon (30%), Walmart (24%) and Target (21%) also increased their year-over-year sales during this period.

Online spend at department store Black Friday to Cyber Monday sales across Nordstrom, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and JCPenney combined fell 5% this year compared to last year.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2020 holiday shopping season has been unique. Foot traffic has turned into clicks as consumers at home rely on e-commerce to make their purchases rather than traditional in-store visits. Additionally, Amazon’s Prime Day sale (typically held in July) was launched in October this year, kicking off the holiday shopping season earlier than ever. The momentum of 150+ million US shoppers with Prime memberships spending their dollars at one marketplace in just a few days prompted several retailers to host their own competing sales the same week.

Rather than the single concentrated effort toward Black Friday that has elicited in-store shopping frenzies in years past, this year saw retailers seize the opportunity for digital sales by offering rolling online discounts throughout November. By the end of the month, Cyber Monday proved the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history. To break down how sales performed at popular online merchants amid these unprecedented changes, Edison Trends examined millions of online transactions from big box retailers and department stores.

Did pre-Thanksgiving sales in 2020 bring in more spend than they did last year?

Figure 1a: Chart shows estimated year-over-year change in online spend at big box/online retailers during the week before Black Friday comparing November 20-26, 2019 vs. November 18-24, 2020 for Target, Etsy, Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, and eBay, according to Edison Trends. This analysis is based on over 870,000 transactions.

Figure 1b: Chart shows estimated year-over-year change in online spend at department stores during the week before Black Friday comparing November 20-26, 2019 vs. November 18-24, 2020 for Kohl’s, Macy’s, JCPenney, and Nordstrom, according to Edison Trends. This analysis is based on over 870,000 transactions.

Looking at just the Wednesday through Tuesday before Thanksgiving for both 2019 and 2020, Target grew its customer spending the most of all the big box/online retailers we analyzed, with a 167% increase. Etsy was next with 117%, then Best Buy and Walmart at 88% and 80% respectively. Amazon had 65% and eBay 26%.

Among department stores, Kohl's led this period for growth, increasing their online customer spend 58% over 2019. Macy's had a 54% increase, with JCPenney growing 23% and Nordstrom 19%.

How much more online spend did merchants see on Thanksgiving week vs. during Amazon Prime Day week of sales?

Figure 2a: Chart shows how much more shoppers spent online on big box/online retailers during Thanksgiving week vs. competing Amazon Prime Day sales, comparing October 9-15 vs. November 21-27, 2020, for Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Etsy, eBay, and Amazon, according to Edison Trends. This analysis is based on over 1 million transactions.

Figure 2b: Chart shows how much more shoppers spent online at department stores during Thanksgiving week vs. competing Amazon Prime Day sales, comparing October 9-15 vs. November 21-27, 2020, for Kohl’s, Macy’s, JCPenney, and Nordstrom, according to Edison Trends. This analysis is based on over 1 million transactions.

All the companies shown here, with the exception of Etsy and eBay, held sales overlapping with Amazon Prime Day in October. How do the recent Black Friday sales compare with the Prime Day sales? This analysis examines how much more customers spent online during the seven-day period ending in Thanksgiving and Black Friday (November 21-27, 2020) than they had during the seven-day period encompassing both Amazon Prime Day and Walmart's Big Save event (October 9-15, 2020).

Among the big box/online retailers analyzed, Target showed the biggest imbalance toward Thanksgiving week. Their customers spent 305% more at Target.com during Thanksgiving week than they had during Prime Day week. Best Buy was next, with a 202% increase in the second period over the first; Etsy had 64% more and eBay 14% more. Amazon increased only 6%, showing that their customer spending was fairly balanced between Prime Day week and Thanksgiving week. Taken all together, online spending at these six stores was 33% higher during Thanksgiving week than during Prime Day week.

Kohl's was the most imbalanced of the department stores analyzed, with 240% more customer spending during Thanksgiving week than they'd seen during Prime Day week. Macy's had a 218% increase, JCPenney 158% and Nordstrom 97%. Taken all together, online spending at these four stores was 189% higher during Thanksgiving week than during Prime Day week.

Which merchants saw the greatest growth in year-over-year spend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Figure 3a: Chart shows year-over-year change in online spend at big box/online retailers for sales during Black Friday through Cyber Monday, comparing November 28 - December 2, 2019 vs. November 26 - 30, 2020, for Etsy, Amazon, Walmart, Target, eBay, and Best Buy, according to Edison Trends. This analysis is based on over 890,000 transactions.

Figure 3b: Chart shows year-over-year change in online spend at department stores for sales during Black Friday through Cyber Monday, comparing November 28 - December 2, 2019 vs. November 26 - 30, 2020, for Nordstrom, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and JCPenney, according to Edison Trends. This analysis is based on over 890,000 transactions.

Looking at online customer spending over the period of Black Friday through Cyber Monday in both 2019 and 2020, Etsy has shown the greatest YOY growth among the big box and online retailers we examined. They had a 115% increase. Amazon was next with 30%, then Walmart and Target, which had 24% and 21% respectively. Rounding out the group, eBay increased 15%, and Best Buy 3%. Taken all together, these six vendors had a 24% increase.

Among department stores, Nordstrom and Macy's grew 6% and 4% YOY, respectively, while Kohl's and JCPenney fell. Taken all together, these four department stores fell 5%.

As the market evolves, we will continue to stay on top of the latest trends. To learn more about how Edison Trends can help your business, contact us at bizdev@edison.tech. For more up-to-date insights in the e-commerce space, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter at @EdisonTrends.

*The data shown is based on a sample of anonymized and aggregated e-receipts from millions of consumers in the United States.