Online sales figures are higher, but so are inflation and discounting, resulting in a mixed picture for the ecommerce industry this holiday season. Here's a recap of online sales over Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the following Saturday and Sunday.

Shoppers spent more online in the crucial Thanksgiving-Black Friday period year-over year, but by only marginal levels. Higher prices due to inflation — which reached 7.7% in October — likely drove much of the increase in dollars spent.

Online sales climbed 2.9% to $5.29 billion on Thanksgiving Day, Adobe Analytics said Friday. That’s higher than the $5.14 billion that Adobe had forecast earlier in the month.

Adobe’s numbers are not adjusted for inflation. However, the Adobe Digital Price Index, which tracks online prices across 18 product categories, shows that prices online have been nearly flat in recent months (down 0.7%  year over year in Oct. 2022). Given that inflation estimate, Adobe said holiday shopping revenue suggests there is growth in underlying consumer demand.

Salesforce Inc.’s estimate of online retail sales on Thanksgiving was significantly higher that Adobe’s. Salesforce said U.S. ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving increased $7.5 billion versus a year earlier — a 9% jump.


Heavy discounting helped drive the rise in sales amid shoppers’ concerns about inflation, Salesforce said. Online discount rates hit 31% on Thanksgiving, a 7% jump year over year.

The merchant categories with the highest discount rates, according to Salesforce:

  • Home appliances: 41%
  • General apparel: 34%
  • Makeup: 32%
  • Luxury handbags: 30%

In a sign that shoppers are reacting to inflationary fears, the average order value for buy now, pay later (BNPL) transactions decreased 6% in the U.S. on Thanksgiving as shoppers financed more lower-priced goods than in the previous year, according to Salesforce.

“After lackluster deals earlier in the season, retailers have now stepped up their discount game to pre-pandemic levels,” Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail at Salesforce, said in a written statement. “Consumers responded by browsing and buying online this Thanksgiving, with buy-now-pay-later options winning over many consumers on the fence, even on lower-priced goods as the pressure of inflation persists.”

Black Friday online sales

Online sales on Black Friday reached $9.12 billion, Adobe estimates. That’s a 2.2% rise from Black Friday a year ago, and higher than the $8.9 billion Adobe had forecast earlier.



The Thanksgiving-Black Friday results trail the overall 6.1% growth in online sales that Digital Commerce 360 forecasts for the entire holiday season.

Thanksgiving weekend sales results

Ecommerce sales on the Saturday and Sunday after Black Friday showed substantial growth, according to Adobe. Consumers spent more on the weekend — $9.55 billion — than they did on Black Friday, Adobe said.

  • Those weekend numbers are 4.4% higher year-over-year than in the comparable weekend of 2021.
  • On Saturday, Nov. 26, ecommerce sales rose 2.6% year over year to $4.59 billion.
  • On Sun, Nov. 27, online spending rose 6.1% year over year to $4.96 billion.
  • Adobe Analytics is a unit of Adobe Inc. and estimates data based on 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail websites, 100 million SKUs and 18 product categories.
  • Salesforce again reported higher sales numbers than did Adobe.
  • According to Salesforce, online sales reached $17.2 billion in the U.S. on Thanksgiving and the three following days, a rise of 10.2% year-over-year.

“Online traffic and sales continued to gain momentum throughout Cyber Week, buoyed by U.S. consumers, who snagged great deals on Saturday and Sunday,” Garf said. “We anticipate retailers continuing their aggressive discounting approaches on Cyber Monday as they make the final push to move inventory and free up cash.”

Salesforce bases its estimates on data aggregated from its Commerce Cloud ecommerce platform, as well as outside data sources, to produce holiday insights from the activity of more than 1 billion global shoppers, with a focus on 12 key markets, including the U.S.

Shoppers worry about inflation

A September survey of 1,088 online shoppers by Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights showed that prices will weigh heavily on consumers’ minds this holiday season. At 52%, more than half said competitive prices would be vital when deciding where to shop for the holiday season.


Melissa Burdick, co-founder and president of Pacvue, which makes ecommerce advertising and sales tools, says shoppers are waiting as long as possible before making a purchase.

“We believe there is a higher rate than years past of ‘cart squatting,’ where customers who are especially price sensitive this year due to inflation/recession concerns are waiting in high anticipation of discounts … and are holding items in their cart,” Burdick said. “Last year was different as retailers encouraged more of a ‘buy while we have it’ mentality due to limited inventory. This year, retailers have more inventory and consumers believe the promotions are coming.”

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