analyst and e-commerce leader predicted a quiet holiday online shopping season this year, with sales in the first three weeks of November essentially flat from a year ago due to a weaker economy, inflation and more people returning to shop at stores after the Covid -19 pandemic. But on the surface, the long Thanksgiving weekend appears to be more vibrant than expected – although the rate of growth has certainly slowed this year in the wake of the pandemic outbreak.
Black Friday broke $9 billion in revenue for the first time yesterday, with online sales of $9.12 billion, according to figures from Adobe Analytics. This was a record number for the day and was up 2.3% from sales figures a year ago and slightly above Adobe’s previous estimate. Adobe doesn’t break down the numbers in its report, so it’s hard to tell if those numbers are because simple items cost more this year due to inflation or if the higher numbers are a result. of buying more.
Black Friday is a key focus for those assessing how the e-commerce market and consumer confidence is progressing during the most important and biggest shopping period of the year.
Salesforce publishes its own metrics based on 1.5 billion shoppersand it notes that online sales hit $8 billion in the US and $40 billion globally at 5 p.m. ET on Black Friday with the most discounted items in the US being home appliances, clothing, health and beauty, and… luxury handbags.
“Our data shows a strong correlation between discount rates and online sales as consumers hold onto the biggest and best deals,” said. Rob Garf, VP & GM retail in Sales force. “Consumers with big wallets are looking for value and price. And retailers responded on Black Friday with the highest discounts of the holiday season.
Adobe says toys, games and consumer electronics are the most popular categories for people looking for Black Friday deals and discounts.
The day before, Thanksgiving, there were also higher-than-expected numbers: shoppers spent $5.29 billion online on Thursday. This is up 2.9% from a year ago and far exceeds the $5.1 billion that Adobe initially said it expected for the day. Salesforce noted that online sales were up 1% on Thanksgiving Day to $31 billion, while in the United States specifically, they were up 9% to $7.5 billion. Salesforce also says 78% of sales traffic comes from mobile devices. The average order value, it said, is $105 globally and $120 for US sales.
The form of “holiday shopping” has changed massively with the growth of e-commerce. Online shopping not only prolongs the number of days and hours people shop, but it also lengthens and blurs the whole concept of seasonality in “holiday” shopping. The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, is used to mark the ‘first day’ of holiday shopping; that went out the window years ago with sales starting on Thursday.
Of course it also affected how people shop. Mobile devices are playing an increasingly larger role in it. A record 48% of all Black Friday e-commerce sales were done on smartphones (compared to 44% in 2021). Note: Thanksgiving is still the day of stronger mobile sales, in part because people aren’t in front of computers — they’re with friends and family, not at their desks! – and they’re not in the store. On Thursday, about 55% of online sales were on mobile devices yesterday, up 8.3% from a year ago.
Vivek Pandya, principal analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, said: “Mobile shopping has struggled to grow for years as consumers perceive the experience to be lacking compared to desktop. . “This year’s Thanksgiving has become a highlight, where smartphones drive real growth and highlight how improved these experiences are.”
And the use of buy-now-pay services is on the rise, a sign of the service’s growing popularity as an alternative to credit, but also a sign of consumer demand to follow children. this way. Black Friday saw BNPL orders up 78%, and they rose 81% according to sales figures, compared to the same day a week ago. Notably, this is a large spike compared to the previous day. On Thanksgiving, buy now postpaid rose 1.3% in sales and 0.7% in orders (indicating more of a use for more expensive items). All is well, as long as this doesn’t translate into long-term defaults.
Adobe says it analyzes approximately 1 trillion visits to US retail websites, tracking sales for approximately 100 million SKUs and 18 product categories. Its analytics will include anonymized data from some of its customers: it says it’s used by about 85% of the largest online retailers in the US It says that so far about $77.74 billion has been spent online since the first day of November.
Salesforce and Adobe may have different metrics and metrics, but both are seeing growth, so the bigger question might really be whether the Thanksgiving surge in activity be maintained throughout the remainder of Cyber Week — including today’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the weekend in between — and indeed the rest of the days and weeks before New. Overall, Adobe has predicted that Cyber Week will generate $34.8 billion in online spending this year, up 2.8% from a year ago when this week brought Revenue of 33.9 billion USD.
Cyber Week 2021 is actually down 1.4% from 2020, so this represents a change.
As a point of comparison on those numbers, National Retail Federation is predicting holiday sales growth of 6% to 8%, while another analyst group, 360 . Digital Commerceis predicting 6.1% growth over the period.
Even so, sales may not be fully sustained or even in the coming days. Adobe predicts that sales for today — the famous Black Friday — are expected to hit $9 billion, up just 1% from 2021’s figures.
The year-end shopping season is an important one to watch for for a few reasons. First, it’s traditionally been a retailer’s most lucrative sales period, one that can make or break an entire year. (That’s why Amazon recent incomewhere it provided guidance for a drop in sales and a warning about lower-than-expected holiday spending, which sent its shares down nearly 20%.)
Given that undue importance, overall, the e-commerce holiday metrics can serve as a fulcrum for the overall e-commerce market.
But if growth is what we’re after, there are some signs of turbulence ahead. Adobe found that for the first three weeks of November, online sales were flat at $64.59 billion, up just 0.1% from 2021.
That comes as brick-and-mortar retailers become increasingly active in re-engaging their audiences. The US National Retail Federation says it expects 166.3 million consumers to shop during the long weekend.
“Despite much speculation about the impact of inflation on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see store traffic strong growth with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. . “We are optimistic that retail sales will remain strong in the coming weeks and retailers are ready to accommodate consumers any way they want to shop great products at the prices they want to pay. .”
We’ll post more updates on sales figures as they arrive.