As of 1:30 p.m. Central Standard Time, here is how Thanksgiving and Black Friday online holiday shopping are shaking out.
The day before Thanksgiving generated $2.4 billion in U.S. online spending, which is a 31.8% increase over the comparable day last year, according to Adobe Analytics. Adobe’s data is based on an analysis of more than 1 trillion visits to retail sites in one year trailing 12 months. Adobe Analytics measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.
Thanksgiving sales totaled $3.7 billion
Thanksgiving sales totaled $3.7 billion, up 28.0% year over year, according to Adobe, surpassing Adobe’s $3.3 billion prediction. Shopify merchants generated more than $250 million in total sales during Thanksgiving, the company says.
Thanksgiving also saw $1 billion in online sales coming from mobile devices, Adobe says. Salesforce.com tracking found 54% of all digital orders on Thanksgiving were made from a mobile device, up from 47% a year ago. In addition, 68% of all digital traffic came from mobile devices, says Rob Garf, vice president of industry strategy and insights at Salesforce.
“Consumers have more access and control than ever before to shop at any time and that’s driving increases in traffic and orders,” Garf says. “You’re seeing an increase in both [in-store and online shopping] with mobile being the glue that ties it together.”
Workarea Commerce Platform says—across more than 700 e-commerce websites that use its e-commerce platform service—mobile’s share of revenue of consumers shopping via mobile was up 6% year over year on Thanksgiving Day. In addition, mobile’s share of traffic dominated again this Thanksgiving day driving 61% of total traffic, up 5% from our data last year, according to Bill Tarbell, vice president of marketing at Workarea. He also notes that sales from consumers shopping on desktops fell to 49% of total revenue, a drop of nearly 5% compared with Thanksgiving 2017.
Retailers also sent 26% more emails on Thanksgiving this year, Garf says, in an effort to entice shoppers earlier.
“Retailers understand that shopping and buying on smartphones is now the norm for consumers, and as a result are delivering better experiences and optimization on mobile devices,” says Taylor Schreiner, director, at Adobe Digital Insights.
As of 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, Adobe says, Black Friday e-commerce shopping has already generated $643 million in sales, up 27.8% year over year. The company had previously predicted Black Friday would reach $5.8 billion in online sales and says the shopping holiday is well on its way to surpassing expectations and hitting $6.4 billion.
Adobe also found that:
- The total online spend of the season thus far—Nov. 1-22—is $38.0 billion, up 18.5% over the comparable period last year.
- Consumers nearly doubled their buy online, pick up in-store orders. Compared with Nov. 21, this omnichannel feature was up 91% on Nov. 22.
- A greater percentage of online browsers are completing their purchases, with conversion rates for mobile and desktop shopping rising. Consumers shopping online with a mobile device from Nov. 1-22 completed a purchase 2.0% of the time, up 7.6% year over year. Desktop shoppers converted 4.3% of the time, up 2.6% year over year. Consumers shopping with tablet computers converted at a 4.3% rate, up 5.4% year over year.
Issues at Walmart on Black Friday
But online shopping wasn’t free of technical issues. When Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, went down on Prime Day, it cost the e-commerce giant an Internet Retailer-estimated $72.6 million. Walmart Inc., No. 3 in the Top 1000, faced similar troubles when its Black Friday deals went live on Walmart.com at 10 p.m. EST on Nov. 22. Shoppers complained about slow-loading pages and then reported error messages on DownDetector.com. “Due to extremely high demand for our Black Friday deals last night, our site experienced some delays shortly after our event began online. Many customers were still able to check out smoothly, and we were able to quickly fix the issue,” a spokesman for Walmart says.
It’s unclear how this downtime will affect Walmart.com’s overall sales, but downtime engineering software company Gremlin.com estimates that Walmart.com generates $679.52 per second and $2.45 million in online sales per hour based on its estimated annual e-commerce revenue, so every moment the site is down is critical.
Some other online retailers experiencing issues or limiting services this holiday weekend are as follows:
- Gap Inc.’s (No. 20) online reserve system has been disabled or limited today in some locations, likely due to the higher store traffic, making it harder to keep track of accurate inventory levels. On normal business days, consumers shopping online can find an item in their preferred size and see if it is available in a store near them to reserve and pick up.
- Lululemon Athletica Inc. (No. 90) faced a barrage of angry comments on Facebook late Thanksgiving evening, in which shoppers complained about the site being down or items disappearing from their shopping carts. It responded to multiple complaints and wrote, “Our team is working with all their might on sorting out this issue.” Lululemon.com is back up and running now.
- J. Crew Group Inc. (No. 53) also reported on Twitter late Friday morning that it was experiencing “some technical difficulties” on JCrew.com as buyers flocked to its site for 50% off everything deals. The apparel retailer’s website was back up and running as of 1:30 p.m. CST.
Pre-holiday shopping grows
Despite its technical glitches, Walmart’s in-store traffic, however, was “steady all night long,” ringing up “hundreds of thousands of transactions,” while many shoppers took advantage of its new app features, such as the Black Friday store maps and Check Out With Me, says Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer at Walmart U.S., in a blog post.
Leading up to the holiday weekend, Walmart saw positive gains as well. Walmart.com, excluding Jet.com, and Target Corp. (No. 17) performed more strongly headed into Thanksgiving, posting higher year-over-year online sales gains than Amazon, albeit off a smaller base, according to a report from e-commerce research company Edison Trends.
Nordstrom Inc.’s (No. 16) web revenue almost doubled, up 97%, year over year for the period of Nov. 15 to Nov. 21, while Walmart’s increased 67%. Target Corp.’s online increased 57%, Macy’s Inc. grew 28%, Amazon.com increased 25% and Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 8) rose 14%, according to Edison.
Best-selling items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Amazon.com Inc. will account for 29% of U.S. sales during the five days spanning Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, Internet Retailer estimates. So far, Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices were some of the best-selling items on Amazon.com on Thanksgiving. In addition to Amazon Devices, best-sellers on Thanksgiving included the Instant Pot and Nintendo Switch.
In addition, Amazon says its customers in the first nine hours of Black Friday have ordered more than 1 million toys and more than 700,000 fashion items. Additionally, the e-commerce giant says Black Friday is already on pace to surpass Black Friday last year, in terms of items ordered.
Adobe found the most popular items bought online on Thanksgiving included the Nintendo Switch, Beats headphones, Hot Wheels and video game Red Dead Redemption 2.
Thanksgiving sales estimated to jump 15.5% through Cyber Monday
U.S. shoppers will spend a record $21.60 billion online during the biggest U.S. shopping weekend of the year, Internet Retailer forecasts. During the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, online sales will jump 15.5% from an Internet Retailer-estimated $18.70 billion in 2017.
Salesforce predicts social media will play an important role over the continued holiday shopping weekend. 7.5% of traffic to retailers’ websites will be driven by social media, Garf says. “We anticipate those retailers that are able to provide personalized, relevant products and content, especially on mobile, will be the winners,” Garf says.
Free shipping will be a big driver for purchases as well. 81% of orders on Thanksgiving had free shipping associated with them, Garf says. With Amazon setting a high bar with free two-day shipping, it’s in retailers’ best interests to offer similar benefits. Target is offering two-day free shipping from Nov. 1 through Dec. 22 on hundreds of thousands of items with no minimum purchase, while Amazon is allowing shoppers without a Prime membership to get free shipping, even without reaching the $25 minimum purchase threshold.
Check back for updates to this story. Internet Retailer will publish another update on holiday weekend activity on Sunday.Favorite