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Online Black Friday Spend Swells to a Record Breaking $9 bln Featured

Online Black Friday Spend Swells to a Record Breaking $9 bln Markus Winkler

Despite high inflation rates – online Black Friday sales in the United States set a new high. On Friday, Americans flocked to their computers, tablets, and cellphones and spent a whopping $9 billion in just 24 hours. An increase of 2.3% from last years’ sales - Adobe Analytics cited the increase was partially due to consumers waiting until November 25th to purchase items versus taking advantage of the Black Friday deals that began earlier this year.

Adobe Analytics predicted that online Black Friday purchases would increase from 2021 by 1% - expecting Cyber Monday (November 28th) to be the biggest day for internet sales. They still expect Cyber Monday to fair better than Black Friday in online sales bringing in just north of $11 billion.

With online sales hitting an all-time high on Friday – how did brick and mortar stores fair? While it wasn’t a record-breaking year – stores did see a 2.9% increase in foot traffic from last year. Brian Field, global leader of retail consulting and analytics at Sensormatic Solutions told Forbes, “The strong traffic numbers for Black Friday show that shoppers are returning to stores and enjoying the socialization the holiday brings.”

What does this mean for the holiday season and the future of Black Friday sales? Field mused that instore shopping isn’t going anywhere – but he expects shoppers will continue to use both in-store and online methods when purchasing gifts for loved ones. He noted, “Unified commerce continues to be important as shoppers use both online and physical stores to enhance the overall shopping experience.” 

So what did shoppers purchase this year? According to Adobe Analytics compared to an average day in October – toys purchases jumped 285% from last year. Smart home items like Google Nests, and Ring home security systems also saw a bump to the tune of 271% YoY.

Always a popular category on Black Friday – electronics also saw a boost in sales compared to an average day in October.  Electronics spend swelled by 221% as consumers were able to get computers, headsets, and televisions for up to 50% off.

Purchases were not the only online trend that Adobe Analytics saw increase on Black Friday. When it came to purchasing items – many consumers opted to make their online purchases from their mobile devices versus their tablets or computers. Mobile shopping accounted for 48% of all online spend – up 4% YoY. In an email to Retail Dive, Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights felt it was partially due to consumers’ “growing trust in smartphone transactions and improvement in mobile online experience.” As businesses are putting more of an emphasis on mobile responsiveness (the look and ease of a website from a mobile device) - customers have begun to take notice.

Another trend that e-commerce sites saw customers take advantage of was “Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)” options. Adobe Analytics saw a 78% increase in BNPL purchases from the week prior. While trying to put a positive spin on it – Rod Sides, global leader of Deloitte Insights said it was a “positive sign in the immediate term.” But he also noted that in the long term – “it tells the consumers are challenged.”

The holiday season is well-underway. Despite inflations and the fear of another recession – data continues to predict a strong holiday season.

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Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has been working in the marketing and data science field since 2015.

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