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October Data Suggests Big Holiday Shopping Season

2023 October Insights

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We’ve grown accustomed to the holiday shopping season beginning in what seems like late summer. That means more opportunities for sales.

It’s looking like this could be yet another record-setting Cyber Week and overall holiday season. In 2022, we solidly established that September and October serve as major onramps to the type of spending the industry has come to expect during the major shopping days following Thanksgiving. 

Let’s dive into the trends we’re seeing from holiday shopping.

How the 2023 holiday shopping season is shaping up

BigCommerce customers should give themselves a big pat on the back and maybe take a deep breath before Cyber Week. In the months leading up to Cyber Week, there’s been a noticeable uptick in activity.

What we’re seeing. 

It’s been a good couple of months for BigCommerce stores, but October was especially positive.

We saw encouraging numbers from BigCommerce customers when it came to online orders, gross merchandise volume (GMV), and average order value (AOV) throughout the month of October versus the same timeframe in 2022. 

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), holiday spending as a whole should reach record levels this year. What we’ve seen for October is promising for growth.

Household finances are holding enough to justify consumers spending for the holidays, and economic headwinds seem to not be putting too much strain on consumers.

NRF’s Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz stated in a holiday forecast: “We expect spending to continue through the end of the year on a range of items and experiences, but at a slower pace. Solid job and wage growth will be contributing factors this holiday season, and consumers will be looking for deals and discounts to stretch their dollars.”

Consumers still want to shop in multiple channels.

The holidays are a time when shoppers are stressed and need abundant options to make their shopping experiences go more smoothly.

Selling across a diverse range of marketplaces has proven effective in getting products front and center for the right shoppers, resulting in as much as 38% more return on investment (ROI) compared to just selling through an owned website.

Earlier this year, Amazon and Walmart opened the floodgates with their sales events, keeping their platforms top-of-mind when holiday shoppers go hunting for the best prices and product availability during the gift giving season. 

Social commerce continues to grow as an option for consumers as well. According to Statista, from 2023 to 2030, it’s expected the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for social commerce will be 31.6% and revenue will reach $6.2 trillion. 

All of this is to say, make sure you are making your products available in the marketplaces and social platforms that your customers frequent. 

Flexible payments and pick-up options continue asserting their importance. 

If you’re the procrastinator in your family like the writer of this sentence, you know just how important it is to have readily available, flexible options for checkout and payments when shopping for that hard-to-find gift.  

Buy Online, Pick Up in Store continues offering some of that flexibility. According to Research and Markets, the global BOPIS market is expected to reach $666.20 billion by 2028, meaning shoppers are not averse to a mixed buyer’s journey.

As for payments, digital commerce platforms in 2023 saw a 9% increase in gross payment value (GPV), meaning the monetary value of transactions passing through payment gateways has grown.

Whether it’s digital wallets, cryptocurrency, or more traditional credit card transactions, shoppers expect to not meet with friction during checkout and pay with their preferred method.  

The final word

We are very encouraged by October’s trend and think you should be, too. 

While there may be a slowdown in growth for online selling, that does not preclude the type of record sales seen last year and during big deals events leading up to this year’s holiday season.

If these trends continue, Black Friday and Cyber Monday could be record days for spending like they were last year.

Pablo Gallaga avatar

Pablo Gallaga is a Senior Manager of Content Marketing at BigCommerce where he focuses on thought leadership content. His years of experience in tech, from startups to enterprise, inform his ecommerce insights.