The Christmas season, with its festive spirit, has always been a significant sales period for businesses worldwide. As we conclude 2023, let’s take a reflective journey through the past decade to understand the evolving Christmas sales trends and the remarkable statistics of this year.

2013–2015: The Rise of Online Shopping

  • Online Presence: By the end of 2015, over 80% of U.S. consumers shopped online for Christmas gifts, marking a steady growth from 2013’s 70%.
  • Mobile Shopping: Mobile shopping started to gain traction, accounting for about 30% of online sales in 2015.

Between 2013 and 2015, the digital landscape witnessed a remarkable surge in online shopping, marking a definitive shift in consumer behavior. Several pivotal factors converged during this period, propelling e-commerce to the forefront of retail. The proliferation of smartphones played a significant role; as they became more affordable and widespread, consumers enjoyed the convenience of shopping from anywhere at any time. Major e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon and Alibaba, expanded their global reach, offering an expansive range of products coupled with efficient delivery systems. The promise of greater variety, better deals, and the allure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales made online shopping an increasingly attractive proposition.

This period also saw a more sophisticated use of data analytics by online retailers to offer a personalized shopping experience. E-commerce websites began leveraging data to show product recommendations, targeted advertisements, and tailor-made deals, enhancing the online shopping experience. Moreover, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram started integrating shopping features, blurring the lines between social networking and e-commerce. User trust in online payment systems grew, and with the added convenience of digital wallets and one-click payments, the transition from brick-and-mortar to online shopping gained unstoppable momentum. By the end of 2015, it was clear that e-commerce had firmly established itself as a primary channel for retail consumption.

2016–2018: The Prime Era of E-commerce

  • E-commerce Domination: By 2018, e-commerce accounted for 15% of total retail sales during the Christmas season.
  • Amazon’s Growth: In 2017, Amazon reported that over 4 billion items were ordered worldwide during the Christmas season, with over half coming from independent businesses.

The years 2016 to 2018 can aptly be described as the prime era of e-commerce, as this period witnessed an exponential growth and maturation of the online shopping ecosystem. Technological advancements and infrastructural developments converged, allowing e-commerce giants like Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay to further solidify their dominance. Their massive sales events, such as Amazon’s Prime Day and Alibaba’s Singles’ Day, smashed records, with billions of dollars in sales in mere 24-hour periods. These events were not merely sales days; they transformed into global phenomena, setting the tone for other businesses to pivot more aggressively to online platforms. Furthermore, innovations such as chatbots, augmented reality shopping experiences, and dynamic pricing algorithms enhanced the shopping journey, making it more interactive and personalized.

In tandem with these platform-centric evolutions, there was a noticeable shift in consumer behavior. The convenience of shopping at the click of a button, paired with the assurance of secure payment gateways and easy return policies, instilled a deeper trust in e-commerce. More consumers were not only buying luxury or non-essential items online but also daily necessities and groceries. The rise of subscription boxes in areas ranging from beauty to books also gained traction. Another defining trend of this era was the rise of Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands. Bypassing traditional retail channels, these brands leveraged social media advertising, influencer partnerships, and interactive website experiences, capturing the attention and wallets of a predominantly millennial audience. By the end of 2018, the e-commerce industry wasn’t just thriving — it was defining the future of global retail.

2019–2021: The Digital Shift Intensifies

  • Pandemic Effect: With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019–2020, online Christmas sales saw a sharp rise, with 2020 seeing a 32% YoY growth, reaching over $180 billion.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) Shopping: By 2021, approximately 10% of shoppers had tried VR shopping experiences for Christmas gift-buying.

The period between 2019 and 2021 witnessed a dramatic shift in Christmas sales, propelled largely by global events and the digital revolution that had been reshaping the retail landscape. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 and its subsequent global spread in 2020 forced businesses to reevaluate traditional brick-and-mortar models, and consumers, confined to their homes, turned to online platforms for their holiday shopping needs. Physical stores, already grappling with the digital wave, faced unprecedented challenges as lockdowns and social distancing measures became the norm. As a result, e-commerce platforms experienced a surge like never before during the festive seasons of these years. In 2020 alone, online Christmas sales saw an astonishing year-over-year growth of over 30%, as many consumers opted for digital storefronts over crowded malls and shopping centers.

The digital surge in Christmas sales was further enhanced by an ecosystem that rapidly adapted to the new normal. Retailers offered contactless deliveries, virtual try-ons, and augmented reality shopping experiences, ensuring consumers could replicate in-store experiences from the safety of their homes. In addition, brands leveraged social media platforms more than ever for festive marketing campaigns, influencer partnerships, and even direct sales. Pop-up virtual holiday markets and online Christmas bazaars emerged, capturing the festive spirit while offering convenience. On the consumer side, there was a noticeable trend towards thoughtful and meaningful gift purchases, likely a reflection of the introspection and value reassessment brought about by the pandemic. By the end of 2021, the Christmas sales landscape was transformed, with digital avenues not just complementing but often surpassing traditional shopping methods.

2022–2023: The Blending of Experiences

  • Omnichannel Shopping: 2022 marked the year where 65% of consumers combined online, in-store, and app-based shopping for their Christmas purchases.
  • Sustainability Trend: By 2023, 45% of shoppers considered a brand’s sustainability practices before making Christmas purchases.
  • Global Sales: Worldwide Christmas sales in 2023 hit an estimated $2.8 trillion, a 5% increase from 2022.
  • Local Purchases: 70% of consumers in 2023 emphasized buying from local artisans and creators to support their community during the festive season.

The years 2022 and 2023 marked a new era in the realm of Christmas sales, characterized by the harmonious blending of online and offline shopping experiences. As global communities adapted to a post-pandemic world, there was a pronounced desire among consumers to recapture the joy of in-person shopping, while still relishing the convenience and variety offered by e-commerce. This gave rise to the phenomenon of omnichannel shopping. Retailers smartly merged digital and physical realms, offering features such as “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) and virtual store walkthroughs, allowing consumers to seamlessly transition between the two modes. Interactive kiosks in physical stores where customers could check online reviews, or QR codes that led to augmented reality experiences, became commonplace.

In 2023, with technology permeating the shopping journey further, Christmas sales saw a blend not just of platforms but also of cultures and traditions. Global marketplaces offered local artisans a stage, leading to a rise in purchases of unique, handcrafted gifts from around the world. Pop-up markets during the festive season began featuring virtual booths, where artisans could share the stories behind their creations via video streams. Consumers increasingly sought out immersive experiences — attending online Christmas workshops, participating in virtual festive games, or touring digital recreations of global Christmas markets. By merging the tactile pleasure of traditional shopping with the boundless possibilities of the digital world, Christmas sales in these years stood testament to the resilience of human innovation and the undying spirit of festivity.

Overall Trends and Insights:

Digital Integration

The decade saw a consistent push towards digital shopping avenues, with online sales becoming an essential part of Christmas shopping. Shoppin apps, in particular, saw a surge in adoption as they offered convenience and time-saving benefits.

Sustainability Practices

Consumers began to consider sustainability practices when making their Christmas purchases more than ever before. Brands that focused on using sustainable materials and eco-friendly packaging had the upper hand in attracting customers.

Mobile Purchases

Mobile shopping has become the norm rather than the exception, with more people opting for the convenience it offers. Wit the increasing popularity of mobile devices, customers have become more comfortable and confident with shopping via their phones. This has enabled retailers to capture a larger portion of the Christmas market.

Experience Over Products

Consumers began to value experiences more, leading to a rise in gift cards for experiences, travel vouchers, and similar non-material gifts.

Social Consciousness

The latter part of the decade saw an increased awareness about sustainability, local support, and ethical shopping.

Technological Innovation

The introduction of AI, AR, VR, and enhanced chatbots revolutionized the shopping experience, providing personalized, immersive shopping journeys for users.


The past decade has been transformative for Christmas sales trends, shaped by technological advancements, global events, and evolving consumer behaviors. As 2023 closes, it’s evident that the blend of physical and digital, coupled with an increasing emphasis on sustainability and experiences, will continue to shape the future of festive sales.

Ankur K Garg

I have built brands that have earned $125MM+ in revenues and I was a pioneer in developing social media influencers in the early 2010s. Currently I am a SDC Nutrition Executive @WeMakeSupplements, Founder of #INTHELAB, Founder of YOUNGRY @StayYoungry, Zealous Content Hero, Award Winning Graphic Designer & Full Stack Web Developer, and a YouTuber.