Black Friday – the day that 1,000 more shopping holidays started – may now have lost its place as the “start” of the Christmas shopping season (it gets bigger and earlier with each passing year). But the day after Thanksgiving still attracts a crowd of shoppers looking for a bargain and remains an important factor in keeping track of how sales will perform in the most important time for the retail and commerce sectors.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year has definitely been leaner when it comes to actual, personal crowds – a refreshing break from those times when you feel like it's the worst of humankind when people break out into disputes over televisions at an on-site Walmart – but online sales don't seem to have disappointed.
According to data from Adobe, which tracks real-time online sales at 80 of the top 100 US retailers with roughly 100 million item numbers, we're on track for a new sales record for the day with $ 8.9 Black Friday is expected to have online sales of $ 9.6 billion and $ 9.6 billion, up 20-29% year over year.
In some cases, Adobe recorded $ 7.4 billion in online sales in 2019. Yesterday, customers said they spent $ 5.1 billion on Thanksgiving, with more than $ 3 billion being spent online every day for the week leading up to Thursday.
Adobe has been counting the final numbers for that day starting this morning in Europe. So we will update this post with the final numbers as soon as we receive them.
The analysts say the evening tends to be large for online shopping – which makes sense since people either go out in person during the day or just do something different on a day off.
However, not everyone agrees that the night is the right time. Figures from Shopify, which analyzes the activity of more than 1 million merchants using the e-commerce platform, say that the main shopping time on its platform was actually 9 a.m. in the east when sales of up to 3 million US Dollars per minute was achieved. The average cart size for US buyers was $ 95.60.
Interestingly, Shopify's sales per minute figure highlights that the retailer's long tail still lags far behind the largest: Adobe found its numbers on the websites it tracked (with annual sales of at least $ 1 billion) match Pro Minute will spend $ 6.2 million on Black Friday.
In both cases, smartphones are still an important driver of sales. According to Adobe, as of 4 p.m. Eastern, cell phones accounted for 41.5% of all sales, slightly lower than the day before but 7% higher than 2019. And just like yesterday, smaller retailers seem to be attracting more shoppers: According to Shopify, around 70% of sales are mobile achieved via smartphones.
We'll see how that all plays out later today, including with the first few numbers of Small Business Saturday, the newest shopping label added to the holiday weekend. This tries to turn the focus more clearly away from the big chains and big box dealers.
One big takeaway from the larger weekend numbers will be that offering items – electronics, technology, toys, and sporting goods are the most popular categories – at the right price will help retailers keep selling, which has proven to be particularly strong year for year Shopping online after many chose to stay out of crowded places due to the pandemic, but also a critical year for retailers as the pandemic has hit the economy as a whole.
Cyber Monday is likely to continue to be the biggest of them all, and is expected to bring in ecommerce transactions valued at $ 11.2 billion to $ 13 billion, up 19 percent to 38 percent year over year.
Perhaps because of the move to more online shopping and concerns about falling sales, it is interesting that the “Christmas season” has also been extended and is now coming earlier. According to a survey of Adobe consumers, 41% said they would start shopping earlier this year than in previous years due to discounts much earlier. Also, remember that the launch of Amazon Prime Day was postponed this October, an “event” that many viewed as a moment to get the go-ahead for vacation shopping.
"Black Friday is at a record high as consumers flock online to purchase both Christmas gifts and necessities," said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights. “At the same time, it is also worth noting that this year, not only on the most important shopping days such as Thanksgiving weekend, but also during the entire holiday season, we have seen strong online sales momentum as consumers spread their purchases over several weeks to take advantage of the continued load to respond to discounts from retailers. "