Analysts and e-commerce leaders have forecast a muted online holiday shopping season this year, with sales in the first three weeks of November broadly stable compared to a year ago due to a weaker economy, inflation and more people returning to shop again in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. But at first glance, the Thanksgiving long weekend appears to be livelier than expected, even though growth has slowed markedly this year after the pandemic-period boom.
Black Friday broke $9 billion in sales for the first time yesterday, with online sales of $9.12 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics. That’s a record number for the day, up 2.3% from year-ago sales figures, and slightly higher than Adobe had estimated earlier in the day. Adobe doesn’t break down volumes in its report, so it’s hard to know if those numbers are due to items simply costing more this year due to inflation, or if the higher numbers are a result of more purchases.
Black Friday it is a key focus for those assessing how the e-commerce market is doing and consumer confidence in what is the busiest and most important shopping time of the year.
Salesforce releases its figures based on 1.5 billion shoppers and noted that online sales hit $8 billion in the US and $40 billion globally as of 5 PM ET on Black Friday with the most discounted items in the states States that appear in appliances, clothing, health and beauty and… luxury handbags.
“Our data shows such a strong correlation between discount rates and online sales as consumers hang on to the biggest and best deals,” he said Rob Garf, VP and GM of Retail at Salesforce. “Consumers with long wallets are looking for value and price. And retailers responded to Black Friday with the biggest discount rates of the holiday season.”
Adobe said toys, games, and consumer electronics are the most popular categories for people looking for deals and discounts during Black Friday.
The day before, Thanksgiving Day, also had higher-than-expected numbers: Shoppers spent $5.29 billion online on Thursday. That’s up 2.9% from a year ago, and ahead of the $5.1 billion Adobe initially said it expected for the day. Salesforce noted that online sales grew 1% on Thanksgiving to $31 billion, while in the United States specifically, they jumped 9% to $7.5 billion. Salesforce also said that 78% of its sales traffic came from mobile devices. Average order values, he said, were $105 globally and $120 for US sales.
The form of “Christmas shopping” has changed tremendously with the rise of e-commerce. Not only has online shopping extended the days and times people shop, but it has extended and blurred the whole concept of seasonality in “holiday” shopping. The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday marked the “first day” of holiday shopping; that went out the window years ago with sales starting on Thursdays.
Of course, it also had an impact how people shop. Mobile devices play an increasingly important role in this. A record 48% of all ecommerce sales on Black Friday were made on smartphones (up from 44% in 2021). Note: Thanksgiving is still a stronger day for mobile sales, in part because people aren’t on computers—they’re with friends and family, not at their desks! – and they are not in stores. On Thursday, about 55% of online sales occurred on mobile devices yesterday, up 8.3% from a year ago.
“Mobile shopping has struggled to grow for many years as consumers have found the experience lacking compared to desktop,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement. “This year’s Thanksgiving has become a game changer where smartphones have driven real growth and underscores how much these experiences have improved.”
And the use of buy now pay later services is on the increase, a sign both of the growing ubiquity of this as an alternative to credit, but also of the need for consumers to take this path. Black Friday saw BNPL’s orders jump 78% and are up 81% in terms of sales figures, compared to the same day a week ago. Notably, this is a big spike compared to the day before as well. On Thanksgiving, buy-now-pay-later increased 1.3% in sales and 0.7% in orders (indicating that more was used for larger ticketed items ). All good, as long as that doesn’t result in unsustainable long-term debt.
Adobe says it analyzes about 1 trillion visits to retail sites in the United States, tracking sales for approximately 100 million SKUs and 18 product categories. His analysis will include anonymous data from some of his customers: he says it is used by about 85% of the largest online retailers in the US He said that an estimated $77.74 billion has been spent online so far since November 1.
Salesforce and Adobe may have different numbers and metrics, but both are seeing growth, so the bigger question may actually be whether the surge in activity seen over Thanksgiving will be sustained through the rest of Cyber Week, which includes today’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the weekend in between, and indeed the rest of the days and weeks leading up to the new year. Overall, Adobe predicted Cyber Week will generate $34.8 billion in online spending this year, up 2.8% from a year ago, when the week generated $33.9 billion in online spending. sales.
Cyber Week 2021 was actually down 1.4% from 2020, so this represents a turnaround.
As a point of comparison on these numbers, the National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales growth of 6% to 8%, while another analyst group, Digital Commerce 360, forecasts 6.1% growth for the period. .
Be that as it may, sales may not be fully sustained or even in the next few days. Adobe has predicted that today’s Black Friday sales will reach $9 billion, up just 1% from 2021 figures.
The holiday shopping season is an important time to watch for a couple of reasons. First, it’s traditionally the most profitable selling period for a retailer, which can make or break the whole year. (This is why Amazon’s recent earnings, in which it provided reduced selling guidance and warned of lower-than-expected holiday spending, sent its stock tumbling nearly 20%.)
Because of this enormous importance, collectively, ecommerce holiday data can serve as a point of reference for the ecommerce market as a whole.
But if growth is what we’re after, there are some indicators of stormy waters ahead. Adobe found that the first three weeks of November had flat online sales of $64.59 billion, up just 0.1% from 2021.
This in a context in which physical retailers are becoming increasingly aggressive in capturing their audience. The National Retail Federation in the US said it expects 166.3 million consumers to shop over the long weekend.
“Although there is much speculation about the impact of inflation on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see heavy store traffic with record numbers of shoppers taking advantage of the affordable prices,” he said. 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 meet consumers however they want to shop with great products at the prices they want to pay.”
We will post further sales data updates as they arrive.
#Black #Friday #ecommerce #hits #record #9.12B #Thanksgiving #5.3B #BNPL #mobile #big #hits