Online sales boomed on Black Friday, reaching a record $9.8 billion, a 7.5% increase from the Friday after Thanksgiving last year, according to Adobe Analytics.
Deep discounts, particularly in categories like electronics, smart watches and televisions, helped fuel sales, along with lower online prices overall heading into the holiday season. Adobe says prices on retail sites in October were 6% lower than a year earlier. Without that price deflation, online sales growth would have been higher, Adobe says.
“Black Friday reasserted its dominance this season with record spend of $9.8 billion driven by new demand for the major sales day,” says Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights. “The decline in online prices over the last year has created a new favorable environment for consumers with strong discounts this season that are tempting even the most price-conscious consumers.”
Growth was far stronger online than in brick-and-mortar stores, according to the MasterCard SpendingPulse index that tracks purchases with all forms of payment. Online sales grew 8.5% on Black Friday while overall retail sales increased only 2.5%, MasterCard says.
Electronics drove a big part of the Black Friday growth, with sales up 152% compared to a typical day in October, Adobe says. Adobe bases its estimates on over 1 trillion visits to sites of its U.S. retail clients. Adobe says it provides ecommerce and marketing technology to over 85% of the top 100 online retailers in the U.S., based on rankings in the 2023 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.
Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of the Thanksgiving period, with sales reaching $12 billion, which would be a 5.4% increase over last year.
Online sales exceed expectations on Black Friday
Salesforce Inc., another major vendor of ecommerce software, estimated online sales were up 9% in the U.S. and 8% globally on Black Friday. It noted that the growth was driven by order volume increases, not inflation, and said Black Friday discounts in the U.S. hovered around 30%.
The biggest areas of growth in the U.S. were footwear and hangbags (up 22%), sporting goods (21%) and health and beauty (17%), Salesforce says.
“Early online sales performance is exceeding any retail executive’s expectations,” says Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail and Salesforce. “Retailers stepped up their discounting game and shoppers, in turn, are clicking the Buy button.”
Meanwhile, Signifyd, a provider of fraud-prevention services to online retailers, said sales for its clients were up 11% year over year on Black Friday. 26% of orders included discount codes, an increase of six percentage points from Black Friday last year, highlighting the role of low prices in driving sales growth.
Signifyd says sales were up in such categories as apparel, cosmetics, groceries and household goods, and cannabis, alcohol and tobacco. Sales were lower in luxury goods, home décor and electronics. The number of fraudulent orders declined 19% year over year, Signifyd says.
Mobile and buy now, pay later (BNPL) surge
Data suggest smartphones and tablets are playing a growing role in holiday shopping.
Salesforce says mobile devices accounted for a record 79% of traffic to retail websites on Black Friday, topping the previous high of 76% last year.
“The mobile phone has been the remote control for holiday shopping, connecting consumers to brands as they navigate across online and offline channels,” Garf said in a statement.
Adobe says it expects mobile devices to account for 51.2% of online sales during November and December, which would be the first time consumers purchased more with mobile devices than computers.
Orders using buy now, pay later (BNPL) systems are up 72% and revenue ahead 47% to $79 million for the period Nov. 18-24 compared to the previous week, Adobe reported. Salesforce also noted heavy consumer use of financing options, and said Klarna and Afterpay were the most popular BNPL options.
Cyber Week ecommerce predictions
Adobe predicts consumers will spend $4.8 billion today online and $5.2 billion tomorrow, as retailers offer attractive discounts in several categories.
The five days from Thanksgiving through Sunday will generate $37.2 billion in online retail sales, an increase of 5.4% over last year, Adobe says. That will represent 16.8% of online spend during the holiday season, which Adobe defines as November and December.
Retailers will offer the season’s best bargains in toys (up to 35% off) and apparel (25%) on Sunday of this weekend, according to Adobe. Cyber Monday will feature the biggest discounts in electronics (30%) and furniture (19%). The best deals for appliances (20%) will be on Thursday, Nov. 30, and on sporting goods (24%) on Monday, Dec., 4, Adobe says.
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